Take Vitamin D to Prevent Falls
According to research, up to 41 percent of American adults are deficient in vitamin D. Studies show that a lack of vitamin D raises risks for osteoporosis and may affect neuromuscular control and coordination. This may explain the link between vitamin D deficiency and a higher risk for falls, especially in elderly men. In balance tests requiring stepping and leaning tasks, elderly men with low levels of vitamin D showed poor performance. While elderly people have a harder time absorbing vitamin D, eating certain foods and other healthy habits can help stabilize vitamin D levels.
Healthy Living Tips for Getting More Vitamin D
Soak up the sun for short periods. When sunlight hits the skin, the body makes its own vitamin D. Exposure to ultraviolet B rays triggers the skin to convert cholesterol to vitamin D3. During warm parts of the year, roughly 20 minutes of daily sunshine (sans sunscreen) results in about 90 percent of the vitamin D needed for the day. After 20 minutes, people should apply organic sunscreen to protect the skin from too much sunlight.
Enjoy salmon. When it comes to healthy habits for boosting vitamin D, eating fatty fish is one of the best. In fact, one salmon filet provides all the vitamin D needed for one day. Enjoy fresh steaks or filets for dinner or salmon-salad sandwiches or wraps for lunch. In addition to providing vitamin D, salmon is an excellent source of essential fatty acids and lean protein.
Drink milk. Most brands of pasteurized milk in the United States deliver good quantities of vitamin D. Whole milk contains the most vitamin D, but skim milk still offers about 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Many plant-based milk products like soy milk, almond milk and coconut milk also offer significant amounts of vitamin D, some even more than cow's milk.
Choose products fortified with vitamin D. Check labels on breakfast cereals, yogurt and orange juice at the grocery store. Many are fortified with vitamin D and other important nutrients.
Take vitamin D3 supplements. Vitamin D3 supplements offer an easy remedy for getting adequate amounts of vitamin D during the fall or winter months. To protect bones, adults should aim for 800-1000 IU of vitamin D3 per day unless otherwise specified by a health care provider.
Getting adequate amounts of vitamin D is important for bone health and good balance. Because aging affects the absorption of certain nutrients, sufficient vitamin D is especially essential to the elderly. While many studies show a link between falls and insufficient vitamin D levels, others show a correlation between falls and high-dose vitamin D supplementation. Therefore, elderly people should have vitamin D levels checked before beginning a supplementary regimen.