Women's Bones Depend On Vitamin D
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin. It exists in several forms, some of which are more absorbable than others.
Why is Vitamin D important?
- Vitamin D is extremely important because of its relationship with calcium. Vitamin D signals the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorous. It also works to maintain healthy levels of calcium in the blood.
- This means that vitamin D is essential for strong bones. Without vitamin D, the body will not have enough calcium to keep bones healthy.
- Vitamin D also helps keep the immune system healthy and helps with cell growth.
What happens when there is not enough vitamin D or calcium?
- Without healthy levels of vitamin D and calcium, the bones become weak, brittle, and prone to breakage. Deformities or thin bones may also result from deficiency of either of these vitamins.
- Children who do not get enough vitamin D may develop rickets. Adults who are vitamin D deficient sometimes get osteomalacia. Osteomalacia results in muscle weakness and weak bones.
How do I get vitamin D?
- The good news is that vitamin D is easy to get. Usually, people will get enough vitamin D from their diets and from modest exposure to UV radiation in sunshine, which is necessary for the skin to synthesize vitamin D.
- Only 10-15 minutes of sun exposure twice per week is required to meet vitamin D requirements.
- Some climates, especially northern ones with heavy cloud cover, may not provide enough sunshine for the skin to synthesize adequate vitamin D. If you live in a climate like this, you should be careful to get enough vitamin D from your diet.
Good Sources of Vitamin D
- Fish like cod, salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel
- Cod liver oil
- Fortified dairy products
- Fortified cereals
Women and Vitamin D
- Women are especially prone to bone diseases and osteoporosis.
- Studies indicate that over 50% of women are not meeting their vitamin D requirements.
Who may be at risk for Vitamin D deficiency?
Some people are more at risk for vitamin D deficiency than others. The following are risk factors for vitamin D deficiency.
- African Americans, especially women and children- Darker pigmented skin synthesizes vitamin D less efficiently
- Kidney problems where the kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to the form needed by the body
- People who are allergic to milk
- Those with lactose intolerance
- Strict vegetarians and vegans
- People who cannot adequately absorb nutrients
- Older adults
- Women who wear religious coverings that severely limit sun exposure
- Post-menopausal women
If you think you are not getting enough vitamin D in your diet, you should take a high-quality vitamin supplement.