Vitamin D is the essential vitamin for healthy bones. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D can result in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteoporosis).
Did you know? Your bones are constantly changing. New bone is made as old bone is broken down. For this reason, we need a steady supply of calcium and vitamin D to maintain a healthy, strong skeleton.
While men and women of all ages and ethnicity can develop osteoporosis, some of the risk factors for osteoporosis include individuals who are:
- Post-menopausal women
- Older age
- Small body size
- Diet low in calcium
- Physical inactivity
What Else Does Vitamin D Help With?
Vitamin D has many other functions within the body as well – it helps nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part, and the immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin D is so important that it is the only vitamin your body makes it by itself – but only after sufficient skin exposure to sunlight. Unfortunately, due to increased rates of skin cancer, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends against getting vitamin D from unprotected exposure to sunlight.
People who don’t get sun exposure, especially people living in Canada and the northern half of the US, are particularly at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Other at-risk individuals include:
- People who have fewer “receptors” in their skin for converting sunlight to vitamin D
- People who don’t get enough vitamin D in their diet
- People who may have trouble absorbing vitamin D from foods
- People who may have more trouble converting dietary vitamin D to a useful form due to aging kidneys.
Seniors are also at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. In fact, the risk for vitamin D deficiency in people over 65 years of age is very high. Surprisingly, as many as 40% of older people, even in sunny climates, don’t have enough vitamin D in their systems.
For these reasons, it’s probably best to get vitamin D from foods, supplements or multivitamins. Geritol® multivitamin contains 100% RDA of vitamin D, along with every vitamin and mineral established as essential in human nutrition.
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D. Office of Dietary Supplements: National Institutes of Health. June 24, 2011. Retrieved from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ January 12, 2013.
Vitamin D Deficiency. Weight Loss & Diet Plans. 2005-2013. WebMD. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/diet/vitamin-d-deficiency January 12, 2013.
Top Food Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D. Food & Recipes. 2005-2013. WebMD. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods. January 12, 2013.
Calcium and Bone Health. Nutrition for Everyone. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/calcium.html January 18, 2013.