Seniors are particularly at risk for vitamin D deficiency, especially during the winter months. This could be due to a failure to include vitamin D-rich food in their diet, spending less time in direct sunlight, having thin skin, and being unable to absorb nutrients efficiently. In this article, we explain to Dayton home caregivers how they can help seniors boost their vitamin D levels this winter.
Vitamin D has several essential functions in the human body:
- Help the body absorb calcium that is used to strengthen bones
- Regulate cell growth and division
- Aid in the transmission of nerve impulses
- Play an important role in immune function
Seniors with adequate levels of vitamin D are less likely to have falls and fractures, enjoy a lower risk of osteoporosis, reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues, and have delayed admission to senior homes.
While a deficiency can occur at any time of year, the winter can be a particularly challenging time to keep vitamin D at sufficient levels. Sun exposure on bare skin simulates vitamin D production in the body. Only a few minutes spent in the midday sun can provide sufficient vitamin D, depending on the time of year, latitude, and the amount of skin exposed. Given that few seniors are interested in sunbathing in December in cooler climates, it is necessary to acquire vitamin D from food and supplements.
It is recommended that seniors age 70 and younger have a daily intake of 600 IU of vitamin D. Those over the age of 70 should intake 800 IU each day. This includes the intake from both food and supplements. Dayton, OH, live-in caregivers should always remember that too much vitamin D could be just as harmful as not having enough.
Foods high in vitamin D include fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel; fortified milk and juice; beef liver; egg yolks and cheese. This isn’t a long list of foods, so vitamin D supplementation is often necessary. Supplements come in several forms: drops, capsules and multi-vitamins be sure to work with a physician to set up a supplementation program that meets the needs of your senior.
Contact Home Care Assistance of Dayton, OH, to learn more about beneficial nutrients for seniors. We provide flexible senior home care Dayton seniors need to carry out daily activities while maintaining overall wellbeing. Call (937) 353-1412 today to schedule a free consultation and learn how our services can benefit your loved one.