Protecting your body from preventable conditions is an easy way to maintain and keep your body running its best for many years to come. Eating right, exercising and taking steps to maintain an active body and mind are obvious—but behind the scenes are some key nutrients that are often overlooked and sometimes dismissed by many women—vitamins. And not just a multi-vitamin, but another key player that can hold the answer to many medical conditions that most commonly affect the female population.
Virtually anyone can tell you that Vitamin D is in milk, and that you get it from the sun. While these are both true, neither source will provide the amount of Vitamin D necessary to keep your body healthy and help ward off disease. Nearly 90 of women between the ages of 50 and 71 are lacking the necessary amount of D. Having too little vitamin D can lead to a well-known and serious medical condition of the bones–osteoporosis.
Also called “brittle bones” osteoporosis is a condition where the bones lose calcium along with their overall mass. According to the National Osteoporosis Society, the disease affects millions of women every year and is responsible for many kinds of fractures—some of which may be disabling. As bones lose the calcium necessary to keep them strong, they lose their ability to withstand daily activities like walking and running. Without the proper minerals to keep the bone solid, the weakened bones are more likely to break. Vitamin D plays a specific role by working to pull calcium from the digestive tract and deposit it into the bones for strength.
Vitamin D deficiencies are also responsible for medical conditions in children. Problems with D have also been linked to low milk supply in mothers who are breastfeeding. Specifically, vitamin D is responsible for helping produce new bone cells in the body which is needed for correct growth and development. Supplementation has been shown to help reduce these complications if given to the mother in monitored, higher doses before birth of her baby.
Vitamin D supplementation should be monitored by a physician to prevent possible side effects from taking too much. Despite optimal health and trying to get vitamin D in natural ways, most people are still not getting enough. Those at the greatest risk for vitamin D deficiency include dark skinned individuals, people who don’t get enough sun exposure, obese individuals and the very old and the very young.
Current recommendations from the National Institutes of Health suggest 400 international units of vitamin D supplementation daily for most individuals. Vitamin D should be taken under the supervision of a qualified physician who can determine your individual needs. Dr. Hessel is working with women just like you every day to prevent complications from too little vitamin D. Make your appointment today and feel better about a stronger tomorrow.