Vitamin D Deficiency And Healthy Aging

Vitamin D is a prohormone that the body converts into a steroid hormone regulating more than 3,000 genes. Two major forms of vitamin D are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is also called ergocalciferol and vitamin D3’s other name is cholecalciferol. Vitamin D receptors are found in almost every tissue and cell of the human body. Vitamin D  synthesis can be induced by sunlight exposure. The healthy level of vitamin D should be 30-100 nanograms per milliliter. Vitamin D helps bones absorb calcium, maintain bone health and normal calcium metabolism.  Vitamin D influences a much broader array of physiological processes.

Studies has found that vitamin D deficiency or low vitamin D level is linked to a host of age-related health conditions:

1) accelerating aging of bone (osteoporosis, rickets, weakened fracture resistance of the bone, increased back pain in female)

2) hasten disabilities in daily physical activities (in completing ordinary daily tasks) with aging.

3) age-related muscle deterioration, muscle mass loss, weaker muscle strength; higher vitamin D prevent age-related injury, associated with stronger muscle

4) high blood pressure

5) weaken immune system, increase the possibility of inflammation

6) increased risk of depression

7) increased risk of heart attack

8) diabetes risk

Receptors for vitamin D have been found on pancreatic cells that make insulin (leading to a theoretical connection between vitamin D and diabetes

9) periodontal disease

10) increased risk of cancer

11) linked to age-related brain conditions  (Alzheimer’s disease, reduced brain function, cognitive impairment)

12) linked to all-cause mortality

In a study, people with the lowest levels (bottom 25%) of vitamin D was found to have a 26% increase in risk of death during the study period compared to people with the highest levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is most common for the elderly and/or people who spends a lot of time indoors. Vitamin D deficiencies or the level of Vitamin D is decreasing associated with aging.  The question is whether the deficiency is caused by the aging body (for example, the body can’t absorb, produce sufficient levels of vitamin D anymore) or because elder people does not have enough activities out door  and get exposed to much sunlight. The understanding of the question should provide guidelines on how to prevent vitamin deficiency for healthy aging. Risk of vitamin D deficiency increases If people shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, is a strict vegetarian or has obesity or deficiency in kidney function. As people age, kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing the risk of vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D can be obtained  from food, sunlight and supplements. Government recommendations for Vitamin D had been 600 IUs adults, and 800 IUs for adults over 70. Growing number of scientists and health care providers believe these amounts are not high enough.  Many doctors are now routinely recommending 1000-2000 IUs of Vitamin D daily for adult patients, especially female over 50.  Vitamin D occurs naturally in a few foods . In addition, it’s vital that  adequate amounts of some important Vitamin D co-factors are available in diets or supplements—Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin A, Boron, and Vitamin K2

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