Thursday, February 04, 2016

Vitamin D Guidelines (For Us Old Fellas)

Recently the powers that be have increased the recommended daily requirements for vitamin D3 especially for us older folks. The new guidelines recommend daily supplements of 400 to 1000 IU for adults under age 50 without osteoporosis or conditions affecting vitamin D3 absorption. For adults over 50, supplements of between 800 and 2000 IU are recommended....

"A daily supplement of 20 mcg (800 IU) should now be regarded as a minimum dose for adults with osteoporosis,” writes Hanley with co-authors. “Canadians can safely take daily vitamin D supplements up to the current definition of tolerable upper intake level (50 mcg [2000 IU])..."

A definite increase across the board for everyone but there are suggestions the daily values remain too low. That said there is unanimous agreement the previous requirements were insufficient.

"Pure North contends that healthy individuals need much more than 600 international units (IU), the official daily recommended amount, advising at least 5,000 IU each day and, in the case of obese Canadians, as much as 15,000 IU – nearly quadruple Health Canada’s recommended safe upper limit."

People may assume they can get enough vitamin D3 via diet and sun exposure but that may not be the case. The use of sunscreens and the aging body`s inability to formulate sufficient amounts of D3 probably means most people are deficient. There are food sources as well but choices are limited and the IU`s are relatively small with the exception of certain salmon species and cod liver oil. One would need to eat lots of the applicable foodstuffs on a daily basis to reach minimums which is not always possible or palatable.

Why is Vitamin D3 So Beneficial As You Age?

Short answer is vitamin D3 is a calcium stimulator which results in stronger bones. It also assists muscle function and prevents muscle atrophy. In terms of cardiovascular health it lowers blood pressure while improving vascular compliance. D3 also prevents systematic inflamation and improves insulin sensitivity which helps prevent diabetes. Most promising is D3`s role in preventing cancers as it is a "potent inhibitor of cancer cell growth and reducing metastasis..."

Looking In The Mirror.


I often joke that my body is fifty two but my brain remains twenty something and I adhere to the line of thought (or delusion) that one is only as old as one thinks they are. The realization that I am most likely vitamin D deficient - at least during the "layered clothing" Canadian winter months - came to me this week while at my chiropractor. Scrutinizing my diet I do eat some foods that supply D3 but in insufficient quantities. I`m probably good during the summer months as I do seek out the sun but as you age your body produces less D3 so it potentially becomes an "all seasons" concern. Especially if you use sunscreens (FTR - I do not).

More Is Not Better

The concern is having too much vitamin D as it is a fat soluble vitamin. That means it is stored in the liver and body fat so you can build up toxic levels. Its hard to eat and sun too much D3 but very easy to achieve if you over use supplements. That probably explains the debate about D3 maximums. The best way to determine your status is to have D3 checked through blood testing. You then have that benchmark and can supplement appropriately. Next time you have blood work scheduled have them include vitamin D if they do not already test for it.

I`m looking in the mirror and suspect I really need to begin taking a supplement based upon my diet and age.

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