Why Seniors Are at an Increased Risk for Vitamin D Deficiency during Winter
Our body relies on a regular supply of vitamins and minerals to keep us healthy. This is true regardless of our age, but when we get older, our risk for nutrient deficiencies increases.One of the main reasons for this is that the body's ability to absorb nutrients from the food we eat decreases with age.
Seniors are more likely to have deficiencies in several vitamins and minerals. One that often comes up on the radar is vitamin D. When seniors live in colder climates, they tend to spend more time indoors during the colder months of the year. This reduces their exposure to direct sunlight, which is the best natural source of vitamin D.
How Much Vitamin D Is Necessary on a Daily Basis?
There is much discussion in the science community about just how much vitamin D we need every day, The National Institutes of Health1 and the Institute of Medicine2 put the minimum daily amount at 600 IU for adults up to age 70, and 800 IU for adults over 70.
But studies suggest that we may need more than this to maintain healthy blood levels, especially if our vitamin D levels are low to begin with. Recommendations based on these studies range between 1000 IU-4000 IU per day, and these levels are considered safe for most people.3 If you have a vitamin D deficiency, your doctor may recommend even higher amounts.
What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency?
Here are some of the most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in seniors. Just be aware that the symptoms are often difficult to pinpoint, so they may be overlooked or misdiagnosed.
Some of the vitamin D deficiency symptoms can include:4
- Fatigue and overall weakness
- Muscle pain and muscle fatigue
- Swelling and pain in bones and joints
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sweating despite not feeling hot
If an older loved one is staying mostly indoors this winter, you may want to discuss the possibility of a vitamin deficiency with their physician. The doctor can easily check for such a deficiency with a simple blood test. If a deficiency is recognized, an over-the-counter supplement or a prescription dosage of vitamin D may be recommended.
To make sure you are getting enough vitamin D this winter, we recommend you take NATURELO Plant-Based Vitamin D supplement made from wild harvested lichen.
2. The 2011 report on dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D from the Institute of Medicine: what clinicians need to know., 2011 Jan;96(1):53-8. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-2704. Epub 2010 Nov 29
3. How Much Vitamin D Should You Take for Optimal Health? Healthline, 2017.
4. Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults: When to Test and How to Treat, 2010 Aug; 85(8): 752–758