“The reduced exposure to sunlight and lower vitamin D levels of many women over 50 can reduce the absorption of calcium for bone strength”.1

Definition

What is vitamin D?

Depending on the Source (DotS) the definition of vitamin D may vary. The (United States) Office of Dietary Supplements’ (ODS) definition is:

“Vitamin D is a nutrient you need for good health. It helps your body absorb calcium, one of the main building blocks for strong bones. Together with calcium, vitamin D helps protect you from developing osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens the bones and makes them more likely to break. Your body needs vitamin D for other functions too. Your muscles need it to move, and your nerves need it to carry messages between your brain and your body. Your immune system needs vitamin D to fight off invading bacteria and viruses”.2

Role

What is the role of Vitamin D?

In Vitamin D: The Importance of Vitamin D according to the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH):

“Vitamin D has many roles within the body. The most understood role is its ability to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus and vitamin D also assists with:

  • Bone development and strength
  • Cell growth
  • Maintaining a healthy immune system
  • Hormone function
  • Nervous system regulation

Apart from its important role in maintaining bone health, vitamin D may also have an important role in other diseases such as diabetes, cancer and infection. These are currently areas of intense research”.3

Sources of Vitamin D

What are sources of vitamin D?

In Vitamin D: What Foods Provide Vitamin D? the ODS explain:

“Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in the diets of people in the United States. Check the Nutrition Facts label for the amount of vitamin D in a food or beverage.

  • Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with about 3 mcg (120 IU) vitamin D per cup. Many plant-based alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk are similarly fortified. But foods made from milk, like cheese and ice cream, are usually not fortified
  • Vitamin D is added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and other food products
  • Fatty fish (like trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best natural sources of vitamin D
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks have small amounts of vitamin D
  • Mushrooms provide a little vitamin D. Some mushrooms have been exposed to ultraviolet light to increase their vitamin D content”.4

Daily

How much vitamin D should women over 50, aim for daily?

DoY (Depending on You) and DotS this may vary. It can therefore be in your best interest to choose to check what’s-what for you.

Sun

What is the association between the sun and vitamin D?

The ODS explain:

“Your body makes vitamin D when your bare skin is exposed to the sun. Most people get at least some vitamin D this way. However, clouds, smog, old age, and having dark-colored skin reduce the amount of vitamin D your skin makes. Also, your skin does not make vitamin D from sunlight through a window.

Ultraviolet radiation from sunshine can cause skin cancer, so it’s important to limit how much time you spend in the sun. Although sunscreen limits vitamin D production, health experts recommend using sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more when you’re out in the sun for more than a few minutes”.5

Calcium

What is the association between calcium and vitamin D?

On page one in Calcium and Calcium Supplements: Achieving the Right Balance – Calcium and Diet the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“To absorb calcium, your body also needs vitamin D. A few foods naturally contain small amounts of vitamin D, such as canned salmon with bones and egg yolks. You can also get vitamin D from fortified foods and sun exposure”.6

Bone Strength

What is the association between bone strength and vitamin D?

In Calcium: Recommended Daily Calcium Intake – Women: 50+ the JH explain:

  • “The reduced exposure to sunlight and lower vitamin D levels of many women over 50 can reduce the absorption of calcium for bone strength”.7

Level

How may I find out my level of vitamin D?

In Vitamin D: What You Need To Know the JH note:

Vitamin D

  • “See your doctor to have a blood test to determine your level of vitamin D”.8

Health Care Provider

What if I think I need to take a vitamin D supplement?

If you think you need to take a vitamin D supplement, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Vitamin D: What You Need To Know the JH also explain:

  • “Your treating doctor can recommend whether you need to take a vitamin D supplement”.9

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to the Vitamin D?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Vitamin D?

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted:

Sources

  1. Calcium: Recommended Daily Calcium Intake – Women: 50+. Last Updated: 29 September 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/calcium Accessed: 20 July 2021
  2. Vitamin D: What Is Vitamin D and What Does It Do? Updated: 22 March 2021. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/ Accessed: 20 July 2021
  3. Vitamin D: The Importance of Vitamin D. Last Updated: 10 February 2021 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/vitamin-d/ Accessed: 20 July 2021
  4. Vitamin D: What Foods Provide Vitamin D? Updated: 22 March 2021. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-QuickFacts/#h6 Accessed: 20 July 2021
  5. Vitamin D: Can I Get Vitamin D From the Sun? Updated: 22 March 2021. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/ Accessed: 20 July 2021
  6. Calcium and Calcium Supplements: Achieving the Right Balance – Calcium and Diet. 14 November 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097 Accessed: 20 July 2021
  7. Calcium: Recommended Daily Calcium Intake – Women: 50+. Last Updated: 29 September 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/calcium Accessed: 20 July 2021
  8. Vitamin D: What You Need To Know. Last Updated: 10 February 2021 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/vitamin-d/ Accessed: 20 July 2021
  9. Vitamin D: What You Need To Know. Last Updated: 10 February 2021 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/vitamin-d/ Accessed: 20 July 2021

Topic Last Updated: 16 August 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 20 July 2021
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