Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our overall body health but many people around the world are not getting enough of this essential vitamin. To older people this vitamin is very important as it helps to keep them strong. Studies shows that over 70% of older people have inadequate levels of vitamin D and as they grow older the levels of this vitamin tend to decrease.
The following are the main reasons as to why the elderly are deficient of this vitamin:
- Changes in their skin decrease the ability to make this vitamin.
- Living in places where there is limited access to sun or the tendency to avoid it.
- Diminished exposure to those foods that contain this essential vitamin.
- Some evidence show that intestinal absorption of this vitamin decreases with age.
- Failure to take this vitamin supplements due to decreased memory.
- Correcting low status of this vitamin is not only simple but also an effective way to protect the health of your elderly family member or friends. Here are the reasons as to why this vitamin is important to older people.
1. Helps to avoid falls and fractures
Osteoporosis is a common brittle bone disease that mostly affects a huge number of elderly. This disease makes the bones to be weak and elderly people can even break a bone if they fall. Improving muscle strength and balance is actually very important so as to prevent fractures and falls. About 3% of all falls actually result in fracture including fracture of the pelvis, the vertebrae, the hip, the lower leg, the ankle, the forearms, and the humerus. Falls are consequential of any of the following:
- Impaired mobility
- Impaired vision
- Loss of balance
- Medication side effects
- Taking calcium and sufficient amount of this vitamin is very important as it helps to strengthen bones, boosts muscle balance and also helps to maintain balance. Older people should ensure that they are not deficient of this vitamin because low levels of vitamin D makes the body refrain from using calcium efficiently, hence resulting in weak bones.
2. Slowing muscle loss
Loss of muscle mass also called sarcopenia, is a commonly well known consequence of aging. Sarcopenia develops when a person loses appetite due to age increase. The decrease in food intake results to weight loss. Weight loss results to muscle mass loss. Muscles function and quality decline as well.
This vitamin is actually needed to keep the blood calcium level normal and that is very essential for muscle contraction. Therefore, the more the vitamin you take the more you are likely to have strong muscles. Many epidemiological studies have shown that poor muscle performance is associated with vitamin D insufficiency.
3. Improves senior memory and thinking
Studies confirm that there is a link between thinking functions, loss of memory and very low vitamin D status. This means that if you have very low amounts of this vitamin in your body, chances are that you might experience loss of memory and your thinking functions will also be slow. On the other hand, if you have sufficient amount of this vitamin your thinking and your memory will function well.
Elderly people should ensure that they have sufficient amounts of vitamin D to help them remain strong and healthy.