Ageing Well with Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays an important role throughout our different life stages. Naturopath Kate Ferguson outlines how this essential nutrient may help to support our health and help us to age well.

Vitamin D plays an important role throughout our different life stages. Naturopath Kate Ferguson outlines how this essential nutrient may help to support our health and help us to age well.

Muscle strength

Vitamin D helps to maintain the strength of the muscles. While the exact mechanism for this effect isn’t yet known, the skeletal muscle has been found to contain vitamin D receptors. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with muscle weakness and muscle pain.

Maintaining muscle strength becomes important for healthy ageing as it helps to prevent falls in the elderly. Preventing falls will help to reduce the incidence of fractures.

Bone support

One of vitamin D’s main functions is maintenance of bone health. Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium metabolism. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines and initiates bone calcification.

Low vitamin D levels are associated with decreased bone density, bone weakness and osteoporosis. Taking vitamin D may help to decrease the risk of fractures, particularly when taken with calcium.

Heart health

While you may be more familiar with Vitamin D’s role for muscle strength and bone support, its role in heart health may surprise you.

Vitamin D may be an important part of heart health management. A deficiency of Vitamin D may be associated with an increase in inflammation and calcification in blood vessels, which is associated with the development of poor heart health. Vitamin D helps to maintain muscle strength and this may also be the case for the heart muscle.

Immunity

As we get older we become more prone to infection and our immune system may not be functioning at an optimal level.

What is now becoming clearer is vitamin D’s role in supporting healthy immune function. Vitamin D may help to support the immune system’s response to fight infections such as bacteria and viruses.

Given that during the winter months we make less Vitamin D through sun exposure to the skin, taking a Vitamin D supplement may be helpful to support the immune system during the cold and flu season.

Did you know?

For adults aged between 51 and 70 years of age the AI (adequate intake) of vitamin D is 10 µg or 400 IU.

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