Time to boost your vitamin D

Make sure that you are getting this nutrient which is essential for the over 50s

As your body ages your nutritional requirements change as the ageing process can leave your energy levels flagging, slow your metabolism, and your body might find it harder to absorb vital nutrients from your diet. A quarter of over 50s are vitamin D deficient, according to the most recent National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

Low intakes of vitamin D have been shown to increase the risk of muscle weakness and hip fractures, amongst other bone health issues, while research suggests deficiency may also be linked to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and overall general poor health due to a compromised immune system. Most recently, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with depression and low mood – particularly in winter – as our bodies obtain most of our vitamin D via UVB rays from the sun. Because the human body cannot synthesise its own vitamin D, a larger percentage of the UK population is in danger of vitamin D deficiency for at least three months of the year during winter.

Rob Hobson, Healthspan’s Head of Nutrition says: “As we age, our body’s ability to absorb nutrients in tablet form diminishes while skin’s ability to synthesise vitamin D is also reduced. As a result, we produce at least four times less vitamin D in our 60s, compared to our 20s and absorption is a key issue as we age.”

  • Fact: Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced by the kidneys that helps to control the concentration of calcium
  • Fact: Vitamin D has many important functions and perhaps the most vital is regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous
  • Fact: Vitamin D can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body
  • Fact: vitamin D doesn’t just come from dairy it can come from salmon, sardines, egg yolk or cereal(fortified) and shiitake mushrooms

Only about 10% of our vitamin D comes from our diet so it is virtually impossible to get everything we need especially during winter months from our diet. Rob Hobson believes, “diet should always come first but you simply can’t get the right amount of vitamin D your body needs from food alone, and in the winter with no UVB rays to make vitamin D, it is worth considering topping up your levels with a supplement.”

Some people may not have any symptoms of vitamin D deficiency as the symptoms can be vague but can include tiredness, general aches and pains. People may experience pain in bones and a feel of weakness plus be prone to infections. The only way to test is to have a blood test and this can be done via a GP or there are a number of private companies that offer at home tests.

With over a quarter of over 50s being deficient of it is recommended taking a vitamin D supplement during the winter months.

Healthspan’s NEW Vitamin D3 50 Plus has been specifically formulated with a cold pressed extra virgin olive oil capsule following recent studies from Tufts University, Boston, which found that monounsaturated fats – especially olive oil – have been associated with better absorption. Healthspan’s advanced formula provides the optimum 50ug level of natural source vitamin D3 – as recommended by medical professionals for those over the age of 50.

NEW Vitamin D3 50 Plus 180 capsules £10.95 www.healthspan.co.uk