How much Vitamin D is appropriate for a Senior?

This is a question that can be answered best by the primary care provider who treats the senior.  The primary care provider can monitor the individual’s vitamin D blood levels and evaluate the individual’s need for vitamin D supplements.

There are many factors that affect the amount of vitamin D required by an individual. Some factors that affect vitamin D intake include where one lives, the time of year, how much vitamin D is contained in the daily diet, the health of the individual and their skin color. Obviously, people who live in northern cities during the wintertime are not able to depend upon sunshine for their daily source of vitamin D. The pigment in dark skin reduces the skin’s ability to produce adequate vitamin D. Kidney and digestive diseases can interfere with the body’s utilization of vitamin D. 

The federal government recommends a daily intake of  600 IU  of vitamin D for people over the age of 70. Some medical researchers believe that this recommendation is too low. 

The largest source of vitamin D for many people is the regular sunlight exposure to the skin.  Other sources include fish, egg yolks, and fortified milk, orange juice  and cereals. Additionally, many people take daily supplements.

Adequate intake not only protects the bones, but research also indicates that there is lower risk for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. On the other hand, there is a concern for too much daily intake of vitamin D. Overuse can lead to kidney stones, kidney damage, bleeding, or muscle weakness. 

It is not surprising if you have run into so much conflicting information. In addition to the many factors involved with the use of vitamin D,  there is quite a bit of research taking place, at this time, contributing to ongoing changes in recommendations.  


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