A significant risk factor for chronic vitamin D deficiency is age, damn it!
We all know that vitamin D is critical for hard bones, strong muscles, a healthy heart and a robust immune system as we age but do we know what a deficiency will do to our bodies?
Little did I know in March of last year my blood work would come back with a vitamin D deficiency after living in Abu Dhabi for almost a decade. At the same time, my calcium was extremely high.
The common theme for a vitamin D deficiency is less exposure to sunlight as we age. It doesn’t count if you spent hours in the sun back in high school. That said, generally, we don’t get outdoors as much as we used to due to numerous reasons. Priorities, mobility, health issues, locations, work, etc. limit our time. Even if we venture outdoors, we cover up, do our best to avoid the sun, and/or wear sunscreen.
We lose the ability to absorb vitamin D as we age
As we age, our skin gradually loses the ability to form the prohormone with the help of UV radiation. The loss can be up to 75%. Our skin simply becomes thinner and loses the ability to absorb the sunlight. You can make sure to supplement your diet with foods rich in vitamin D. Look for foods that are fortified with vitamin D as well as consume a good portion of fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
There are many articles about vitamin D and menopause. I was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency and an extremely high calcium level, which was causing calcium buildup on my knuckles. I was tested for RA and Osteoarthritis, but that came back negative. The doctor’s treatment was to make sure that my supplements did not contain calcium, a prescription for 10,000mg of vitamin D and CH-Alpha Plus Joint and Cartilage Health was given to me by my doctor. After one month on this regimen, my hands were already feeling better.
Menopause causes so many changes in our bodies, and our experiences are different.
Things you can do…
Be proactive and have periodic checkups for preventative health care otherwise we might be waking up to more than our share of difficulties. I have cared for my family, I know what aging looks like and what genetic conditions to which I’m predisposed. I encourage you to have a health check to make sure you are doing all you can to keep a healthy body and lifestyle.
All of our nerve cells in our bodies are dependent on vitamin D, including in the brain. A deficiency is likely to result in even faster degeneration of the brain. A recent study suggests that people who have a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to be predisposed to dementia or Alzheimer’s.
I challenge you to get a checkup! Do what’s right for you, take care of yourself. If you have some time, watch this proactive aging session I gave for Working Women Pushing Boundaries. For those of you wanting a more in-depth article, check this out from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.