Vitamin D supplement intake is important to keep healthy bones and a new study reveals it may be especially beneficial for adults during the long winter months.
One of the most important supplements to not only maintain bone health, but a strong immune system, vitamin D is naturally produced by the sun.
While health professionals recommend daily exposure to the sunshine in order to naturally absorb adequate amounts of vitamin D, along with the intake of certain foods, many are weary of prolonged exposure to the sun and do not have an adequate diet.
All this has led to the need of vitamin D supplement in adults diets, considering the long winter months contribute to the levels of deficiency as people spend most of their time indoors due to the cold weather in northern states.
James Fleet, professor of nutrition science, who studies how Vitamin D controls calcium says:
“Those who live in Indiana and other Midwest communities should be seasonally supplementing.That’s not a surprise to most people. But, people also need to consider supplementing year round if they follow sun safety practices, have darker skin tones or are older.”
Fleet adds, “If you are avoiding sunlight or apply sunscreen regularly, you should worry about Vitamin D to protect your bone health.”
Researchers have also found that as people age, their ability to produce vitamin D in the skin deceases and they recommend that supplements are added to their diet.
“At the same time, older adults’ bones are becoming weaker, especially for postmenopausal women, so it is critical that vitamin D is consumed adequately to preserve bone health,” Fleet says.
In 2010 Vitamin D supplement recommendations were updated by the government. The new guidelines, which are measured in international units, abbreviated as IU is as follows:
• Children, birth to age 13: 400 IU
• Teens and adults, ages 14 to 70: 600 IU
• Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
In a separate study — available at the Journal of the American College of Nutrution — researchers set out to find out which segments of the population were most affected by vitamin D and calcium deficiency, both of which are crucial for bone health throughout life.
Researchers found that four to eight-year-old children were most likely to obtain the daily-recommended dairy intakes than older children and adults of all ages and that consumption of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D was found to decrease with age in adults.
Dr. Taylor C. Wallace said:
“Our results showed for the first time that low-income, overweight, and/or obese minority populations may be at a greater risk of calcium and vitamin D insufficiency. The results show that large portions of the US population do not obtain adequate calcium and vitamin D intakes from food alone.”
The results of the study are vital to identifying the population most in need to be targeted with a public health awareness campaign in regards to the importance of optimal bone health and the appropriate vitamin D supplement intake.