Let’s face it, caregivers and their loved ones don’t get outside all that much.
I’m not sure why, but many of our elder loved ones don’t seem to enjoy the great outdoors.
I know that their eyes become more sensitive to light, but I also think they perceive it as a lot of trouble, or that they might trip and fall.
That’s sad. Nature is so healing to the soul and the senses.
Hobbies like bird watching and fishing aren’t too strenuous either and are extremely relaxing and enjoyable–as well as something new to learn and can be shared cross generation-ally. Between sunblock, the shade, and hats, you can still manage to get a little sun and not expose yourself to skin cancer. Vitamin D is absorbed through the skin, and this is the easier, most natural way to receive it.
Being inside isn’t necessarily safer either. Home accidents are all too common.
But there’s a hidden danger from staying indoors, and that’s vitamin D deficiency–and it’s on the rise.
The reason I’m writing on this topic is because of a neighbor I ran into. We were chatting and I did notice her color was off, and she told me that her doctor told her she had a vitamin D deficiency. She runs at 6am every morning, but then she works all day and doesn’t get home until dark. Still, I would have thought that getting in and out of your car, going to lunch, etc., would offer enough “light.” Apparently not. (The moral of this story is to never, ever run at six in the morning !)
We need to step out under the trees and enjoy a bit of mother nature every day.
Our bodies can naturally synthesize more than 20,000 IU of vitamin D in just 20 minutes of sun exposure without ill effect. Our bodies even “shuts off the synthesis” when we get enough. This doesn’t happen when we eat sources of vitamin D — the same 20,000 IU of vitamin D taken as an oral supplement could be toxic.
I did a little research:
A lack of vitamin D leads to bone and muscle weakness as well as leads to osteoporosis.
Women are more likely to have Vitamin D deficiency than men.
Infants and the elderly are at a higher risk
People who are milk intolerant may also have a difficult time converting Vitamin D, and therefore, may be deficient.
Breast milk provides some vitamin D, but not enough, and there diet should be supplemented.
Even though you live in a warm climate, how you live, what you wear, your religious practice (clothing), may still cause you to be at risk for a vitamin D deficiency
In extreme cases, it causes rickets, a condition that causes “soft bones,” fractures and deformities.
Foods that contain vitamin D are:
Fortified milk, cod liver oil, (but who’s going to drink that stuff?)
Egg yolks, butter, and oily fish like salmon.
Beef, cabbage, and corn oil
Fortified milk and breakfast cereals, are contain a synthetic vitamin D.
Check to make sure you’re getting at least 200 (IU–international units) per day in your multi-vitamin.
Infants need a higher dose, as do many of our elderly since their bodies may not be processing what they’re ingesting. In some older people, a 400 IU supplement may not be enough because they do not have proper absorption (calcium/lactose issues).
Pediatricians are surprised to see children suffering from rickets, a bone disorder caused by vitamin D deficiency. Is this due to our new lifestyles? Longer school hours, more homework, video games and computer time? How many kids do you see outside in the afternoon in your neighborhood. Not as many as I used to.
If you’re experiencing severe muscle weakness and pain, it may be an undiagnosed vitamin D deficiency.
Not wanting to scare you, but vitamin D deficiency contributes to certain forms of cancer, high blood pressure, depression, and immune-system disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
What to do?
Check your multi-vitamin and get the proper dosage
Sit outside or even better, go for a walk 20-30 minutes a day
If you think you might be deficient, ask your doctor for a simple blood test
I hope I’ve alerted you to something that could make your life or the life of your loved one better–and brighter!
Drink a glass of milk and go for a nice stroll.
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