Seniors and the Sunshine Vitamin

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Vitamin D Benefits for Elderly

Vitamin D, commonly recognized as the sunshine vitamin, helps seniors sustain cardiovascular function and lung and airway health, fights infection, and reduces risk for osteoporosis, arthritis, bone fractures, muscle weakness, and conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. With so many benefits, why might seniors not be getting enough vitamin D?

Reasons Older Adults are at Risk

in-home care San Antonio experts share how your loved one may have an increased risk for a vitamin D deficiency because:

  • The ability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight decreases with age
  • Outdoor activities and physical activity are minimized
  • Reduced skin thickness
  • Dietary intake is lessened
  • Impaired kidney function makes it difficult to process the vitamin

How to Get Healthy Levels of Vitamin D

Help your senior loved one obtain the necessary levels of vitamin D to improve overall health through the following food sources:

  • Egg yolks and Swiss cheese
  • Fortified yogurt, milk, and orange juice
  • Salmon, tuna, mackerel
  • Mushrooms

Because vitamin D is only found in a handful of food sources, seniors should also spend time outdoors as the body produces this essential vitamin when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Although the amount of vitamin D generated will depend on the season, time of day, and a senior’s skin tone, a short ten-minute stroll in the sunshine could produce up to 5,000 international units (IUs) of the recommended 600 for seniors over the age of 50.

You may be left wondering, if 600 IUs is all that is recommended for seniors, isn’t a ten-minute stroll that produces 5,000 IUs too much? Research suggests that because seniors are at greater risk for vitamin D deficiency, additional IUs of the vitamin can actually promote better health. For instance, an extra daily dose of 400 IUs has been effective for reducing falls, while an added 800 IUs has proven even better for reducing bone fractures.

Promoting a Healthy Lifestyle

If you are unable to spend time with your loved one outdoors or are unable to monitor their regular meals, consider help from a professional caregiver in San Antonio. Along with hourly care on an as-needed basis, caregivers can also provide San Antonio live-in care to provide around-the-clock help with healthy meal preparation, physical fitness activities, medication reminders, transportation to medical appointments, and more. Call (210) 495-6300 for more information and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation today.


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