“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 found in some foods that is needed for health and to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium (one of bone’s main building blocks) from food and supplements”.2

Role

What is the role 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 have vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in American diets.

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light
  • Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU of vitamin D per quart, and so are many of the plant-based alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, and oat milk. 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 soy beverages; check the labels”.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:

“The body makes vitamin D when skin is directly exposed to the sun, and most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way. Skin exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cloudy days, shade, and having dark-colored skin also cut down on the amount of vitamin D the skin makes. However, despite the importance of the sun to vitamin D synthesis, it is prudent to limit exposure of skin to sunlight in order to lower the risk for skin cancer. When out in the sun for more than a few minutes, wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 8 or more. Tanning beds also cause the skin to make vitamin D, but pose similar risks for skin cancer”.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

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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: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/calcium Accessed: 10 July 2020
  2. Vitamin D: What Is Vitamin D and What Does It Do? Updated: 24 March 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/ Accessed: 10 July 2020
  3. Vitamin D: The Importance of Vitamin D. Last Updated: 31 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/vitamin-d/ Accessed: 10 July 2020
  4. Vitamin D: What Foods Provide Vitamin D? Updated: 24 March 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-QuickFacts/#h6 Accessed: 10 July 2020
  5. Vitamin D: Can I Get Vitamin D From the Sun? Updated: 24 March 2020. Office of Dietary Supplements https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/ Accessed: 10 July 2020
  6. Calcium and Calcium Supplements: Achieving the Right Balance – Calcium and Diet. 03 October 2018. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097 Accessed: 10 July 2020
  7. Calcium: Recommended Daily Calcium Intake – Women: 50+. Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/calcium Accessed: 10 July 2020
  8. Vitamin D: What You Need To Know. Last Updated: 31 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/vitamin-d/ Accessed: 10 July 2020
  9. Vitamin D: What You Need To Know. Last Updated: 31 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 15 December 2013. Jean Hailes https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/bone-health/vitamin-d/ Accessed: 10 July 2020
Topic Last Updated: 10 July 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 10 July 2020
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