Elderly

Seniors and Vitamin D

Suzan Sayegh, MPH/ Health Promotion Researcher
Aspetar
21 November, 2016

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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for maintaining the health of bones, teeth, joints the and immune system. Vitamin D can improve muscle function and bone density which reduces the risk of falls.

Vitamin D deficiency in the Gulf region:

Vitamin D deficiency is a major public health problem worldwide among all age groups. The Arabian Gulf region is found to have one of the highest vitamin D deficiency rates in the world due to the reduced exposure to sunlight which is caused by the hot weather, lack of using fortified dairy products and inappropriate vitamin D supplementation. In the State of Qatar, recent studies show that about 90% of the Qatari population suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D and ageing:

People over the age of 50 are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. As people grow older, their capability to synthesize vitamin D from sunlight becomes less. In addition, seniors are less likely to be active; most of them rarely participate in outdoor activities. Researchers suggest that 30 minutes of sun exposure, twice a week, is required for the body to make a sufficient amount of vitamin D.  Ageing is normally accompanied with the reduction of muscle mass and strength which might result in an increased risk of falls and fractures. According to the World Health Organization, a fall is defined as the action of finding oneself involuntarily on the ground. As such, it is essential to preserve the muscle strength in seniors to avoid falls and consequent fractures. Some studies show that vitamin D deficiency in seniors may also contribute to muscle weakness, hip fractures, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and poor health.

You need more vitamin D as you grow older!

Vitamin D Sources:

Vitamin D also helps you fight off many diseases; however, vitamin D is not common in many kinds of food. The sun is considered as the primary source of vitamin D which is synthesized through the skin. Sources of vitamin D include: salmon, tuna, beef liver, cheese and egg yolks, fortified milk and cereals, and vitamin D supplements.

For fracture prevention in seniors, adequate vitamin D level intake is needed.

Still haven’t checked your vitamin D level?! Hurry up and do the test

Note that you need to consult with your Doctor for an appropriate dosage prescription!

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