People are living longer, but their golden years are often marked by physical and mental decline. It is estimated that as many as 90% of seniors are deficient in Vitamin D, a critical nutrient for aging bodies and brains. Physicians frequently prescribe a vitamin D supplement, but fortified dairy foods contain a readily absorbable source of this nutrient, plus an overall nutrient package that may be more beneficial to bone, cardiovascular and cognitive health than a pill.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, but many seniors spend less time in the sun, and the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D declines drastically with age. However, the intestinal absorption of Vitamin D does not decline, and so maintaining adequate dietary sources is critical. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased incidence of dementia, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, myocardial infarction, stroke, diabetes, hearing loss, loss of visual acuity and osteoporosis. Let’s explore some of these in more depth.