(NaturalNews) Vitamin D has been in the spotlight for a number of years with evidence stacking up that the majority of all chronic, degenerative diseases are worsened by low levels of vitamin D. Research recently published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism evaluated nearly 2000 people aged 55 years and older for the relationship between their physical performance abilities and vitamin D levels in their blood. Physical performance evaluations included the ability to carry out common activities of daily living such as climbing a flight of stairs, dressing or undressing oneself, getting up and down from a chair, being able to walk outside for 5 minutes unassisted, trimming one's toenails and if one used his/her own or public transportation.
The Dutch researchers found the older population (>65 years old) to have nearly a two-fold increase in functional limitations when vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) levels measured less than 20 ng/ml compared to measurements of vitamin D greater than 30 ng/ml. Similar findings on functional limitations and low vitamin D levels were also seen in the group of subjects in the 55-65 year old category.
Optimal vitamin D levels
These findings further support the importance of achieving and maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D. Many experts on vitamin D suggest that the current lower range of 30 ng/ml is not adequate for optimal health and that one should target a minimum of 50 ng/ml to achieve better outcomes. Regardless, the findings in this study demonstrate the profound impact that vitamin D levels can have on overall quality of health. As our population ages, it is more important than ever to ensure that we are not only living longer but also living stronger.
How to get it
In order to achieve these levels of vitamin D, most people will need to supplement with 3000 - 5000 I.U.'s per day, although the only way to know for sure is to have your blood levels tested and adjust your intake accordingly. At excessive levels (greater than 100 ng/ml), vitamin D can become toxic and cause weight loss, heart arrhythmia and anorexia. Ideally, it is best to get as much of your vitamin D from sun exposure, although sometimes this may not be possible. If you are supplementing, be sure to use D3 (cholecalciferol), the more biologically active form, instead of D2 (ergoccalciferol). Food sources of vitamin D3 include eggs, organ meat, cod liver oil, fatty fish (such as tuna, mackerel and salmon) and some cheeses. It is also important to note that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means, if you are taking it in supplement form, you always want to take it with food that has oil or fat in it to allow for absorption.
About the author: Kelly Pepper, D.C., is a mother of six, an avid reader, eclectic cook, home manager, and untiring sleuth to natural living. She gathers her experience to share with children of all ages. She is currently working on a wellness book series for children ages 4-7. She and her husband own Affinity Health Professionals www.affinityhealthprofessionals.com.
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