The importance of vitamin D

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/02/2021 (589 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D has been receiving a lot of attention in our COVID-19 world.

Vitamin D is very important in calcium absorption to help keep our teeth and bones strong but its benefits may be well beyond helping prevent osteoporosis. In seniors, especially those living in long-term care, daily supplementation of vitamin D could help reduce falls by 20 per cent.

Vitamin D has also been linked to reducing certain forms of cancer, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease and improving cognition. There have also been several studies during this pandemic that have shown the positive effect of vitamin D supplementation on reducing respiratory inflammation, particularly in those with vitamin D deficiencies, as well as overall improvement of COVID-19 symptoms. Further studies on this are ongoing.  

Dreamstime.com Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin.

In Canada, due to our cold and harsh winters, many people have limited sun exposure, which naturally provides us with vitamin D. Food sources of vitamin D are limited to mostly fatty fish such as salmon and dairy products, so most individuals cannot consume enough vitamin D alone and supplementation is required.

The recommendation is to have 400 to 1,000 IU (international units) per day if you are between 19 and 50 years of age; and 800 to 2,000 IU per day if you are over 50.

In the winter months, I would suggest people aim at the higher end of supplementation guidelines, given that we spend a lot of time indoors.

It is important to remember that physical activity plays a huge role in preventing osteoporosis and improving health in general. Given that restrictions remain on swimming pools, group gym and exercise classes, etc., there are virtual options, such as YouTube classes and the like to explore as well. Getting out to walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski, skate or use your exercise equipment are also beneficial.

Movement is key in maintaining not only physical health but mental and emotional health as well. If you are uncertain about whether or not you should be taking a vitamin D supplement, please speak to your health care provider.

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com

Lisa Lagasse

Lisa Lagasse
Charleswood community correspondent

Lisa Lagasse is a registered dietitian and community correspondent for Charleswood. Email her at Charleswoodres@gmail.com or find her on Twitter: @LisaRD42324393

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