Low vitamin D levels are something you want to avoid. That’s because vitamin D is used by your body for many things.
Vitamin D in the body
- Most important of all, vitamin D is used by your body to absorb calcium and phosphorus from food. Low vitamin D levels mean weak bones and teeth. Older adults with osteoporosis should take a daily dose of vitamin D and calcium to help prevent fractures.
- Vitamin D supports your muscles. For the elderly, stronger muscles help to reduce falls.
- Vitamin D also helps your nerves and immune system.
What low vitamin D levels can cause
- Slow Wound Healing If you have low levels, you’ll find that any wounds you have aren’t healing as fast as they should.
- Osteoporosis This disease affects a third of women between the ages of 60 and 70 and two thirds of women 80 or older. If you have low vitamin D levels, your body cannot properly absorb the minerals that it needs to keep your bones strong.
- Muscle Pain People with low vitamin D levels often have pain and weakness in their muscles. Weak muscles in older people especially is dangerous as this means that they have a greater chance of falling.
- Osteomalacia If your levels are low for a long time, your bones will not be able to repair themselves. They may become soft. This can lead to breaks and other problems.
Who needs to watch out?
- People with Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), celiac disease and cystic fibrosis. These conditions affect your gut and make it harder for you to absorb fat. Your body needs fat to use vitamin D. Ask your doctor about supplements to keep your vitamin D levels up.
- People who are obese are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. The extra fat under the skin retains more of the vitamin and changes the way it goes into your blood.
Good sources of vitamin D
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, vitamin D concentrations of 50 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter) or higher are considered to be high enough for overall health.
What are good sources of vitamin D?
Here are some sources you can consider:
- sunshine on your skin
- eggs, fatty fish
- fortified foods like milk and cereal.
- vitamin D supplements: the recommendations from the Endocrine Society are 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day for adults and 600 to 1,000 IU for children and teenagers.