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Vitamin D Deficiency: Why It Matters

Author: Andrew Adamson, D.O.

In one of my last blog posts, I wrote about the symptoms and treatment of osteoporosis – a bone disease that affects at least one in 10 women over the age of 50 (and one in five over the age of 70). But one important topic I didn’t touch on is vitamin D. This vitamin, which is obtained through sun exposure, plays a key role in bone health. Having a vitamin D deficiency can put you at risk for some serious health problems, including osteoporosis.

What does vitamin D do?

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium, of course, is one of the primary minerals involved in building and strengthening the bones. So, without adequate vitamin D intake, your bones may not be able to get the calcium they need for preventing fractures and bone density loss.

You may have noticed that the milk you buy at the grocery (whether dairy, soy, almond, or other) is fortified with vitamin D. Many brands add vitamin D to their calcium-rich food products so that they can claim a good-for-your-bones product!

What’s the best way to get vitamin D?

The best way to get your daily vitamin D is to spend time under the sun. There are very few foods in nature (e.g. fatty fish, mushrooms grown with certain lighting techniques…) that offer sufficient vitamin D. If regular sunshine isn’t an option because of your work, lifestyle, season, or location, consider taking a vitamin D supplement. Many multivitamin pills already include vitamin D.

Am I getting enough vitamin D?

The RDA (that’s “recommended dietary allowance”) of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU per day (800 IU/day for adults over the age of 70). Creating a correlation between 600 IU and actual time spent under the sun can be complicated, as there are many factors involved, including skin type and the strength of the sun’s rays. The Vitamin D Council offers some helpful tables and example scenarios on this topic here.

Have Questions? Schedule An Appointment

Are you concerned that you – or your mom – could be at risk for a vitamin D deficiency? If so, schedule an appointment with us at Arizona Associates for Women’s Health. Vitamin D deficiency and bone health are important components of comprehensive care for women. You can call 480-844-4702 or schedule with a Mesa gynecologist online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.

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