Do you know your vitamin D level? Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. Since 10 million Americans over age 50, and over 40% of the entire population are low in this essential vitamin, I’m not surprised to find low levels every week among my menopause patients. But the reality literally ‘came home’ recently when three of my family members were found to have low levels.
We get vitamin D when sunshine stimulates our skin to make it from precursor hormones. Vitamin D is also found in fish, egg yolks and fortified grain and dairy products like milk. But for a whole lot of people, that’s not enough; especially as we age and the vitamin D making ability of our skin reduces.
Vitamin D is essential for getting calcium into our bones and teeth. It also helps keep our muscles strong, our moods up, and our arteries free from plaque, and low levels are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer and heart failure. If your vitamin D level is low and you treat it, you’ll feel stronger, better, and lower your risk for some pretty heavy-duty illnesses.
You need at least 600 IU/day before age 70 and 800 IU/day after that just for maintenance. Take a multivitamin. To see if you need a higher dose, ask your doctor to get a vitamin D blood test called 25(OH)D. So, "What’s your vitamin D level?"
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