older couple at park

Health Risks of Excessive Vitamin D Levels

Without Vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium. Therefore, the body cannot then create healthy teeth and bones. Another benefit of this essential nutrient is warding off cancer as well as diabetes. New research shows negative effects for receiving too much vitamin D, however. 

 

How do we receive vitamin D?

 

When sunlight reaches the skin, our bodies synthesize vitamin D. We can also receive it from sardines, salmon, canned tuna, shrimp and oysters. Non-fish sources include mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified food products such as cereal, soy milk and oatmeal.

 

Skin pigmentation, where we live and season are all factors that affect the amount of this nutrient our bodies produce. During winter, vitamin D levels can drop drastically if not be missing from the body completely. 

 

What are the risks of low vitamin D levels?

 

Besides those already mentioned, deficiency of this vitamin may play a part in conditions such as dementia, depression and schizophrenia. 

 

Older adults may especially be at risk of developing some conditions when vitamin D levels are not up to par. Some older adults struggle to absorb the nutrient due to lack of sun exposure.  When this is the case, a supplement or a multivitamin can improve memory and boost bone health.

 

How much vitamin D do I need at each age? 

 

These are the recommended daily amounts  according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH): 1

 

Infants 400 IU

Children age 1-13 600 IU

Teens age 14-18 600 IU

Adults age 19-70 600 IU

Adults 71 and older 800 IU

Pregnant and breastfeeding moms 600 IU

 

What are the risks of excessive vitamin D levels?

 

While vitamin D is crucial to good health, risks exists for excessive exposure as well. Researchers at Rutgers University found that older women who took more than three times the recommended daily dose who were also overweight showed slower reaction times. 2 Slower reaction times can lead to serious injuries for the elderly from falls. 

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 out of 4 elderly adults fall each year. 3 Scientists at Rutgers University studied the risk factors for falls. After analyzing the effects of vitamin D on three groups of women from ages 50–70 in a randomized controlled trial, they found improvement in memory and learning in those that took more than the recommended daily dose. However, these women also showed slower reaction times.

 

Examining various doses in people of various ages and different races over a longer period is the next step in investigating this issue. 

 

CCMH is proud to have a variety of general practitioners and specialists to meet your health needs as you age. To find a list of them, visit CcmhHealth.com/Directory.

 

Sources 

 

1 National Institute of Health. Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Consumers. 15 April 2016. 

2 Rutgers Today. More Vitamin D May Improve Memory but Too Much May Slow Reaction Time. 13 March 2019. 

3 Center of Disease Control (CDC).  Important Facts about Falls.

 

Disclaimer 

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

Older man and woman looking out window and smiling

Conversations Older Men Should Have with Their Doctor

No matter your age, there is no time like the present to make your health a priority! June is Men’s Health Month. So men, why not make it your goal to take care of any health needs or concerns you have this month?

 

For older men, health needs are unique. We know that navigating your health in your older years can be challenging. Here are six conversations we recommend you discuss with your doctor to help you live out your best life in your older years.

 

How can you prevent illnesses?

 

Although there is no way to prevent most serious illnesses completely, there are many simple things you can do to protect yourself.

 

Ask your doctor if you need to:

 

Use sunscreen to protect against skin cancer.

 

Get any immunizations such as the flu shot, tetanus and whooping cough vaccines. Depending on your age, your doctor may also recommend the shingles and pneumonia vaccinations.

 

Take aspirin to lower your risk for heart attack or stroke.

 

Undergo a prostate exam to test for prostate cancer.

 

Are you at risk for depression?

 

Depression is common in older years and is nothing to be ashamed about. You may wish to speak to your doctor if you feel sad, hopeless, or down for a couple of weeks or longer. If you find you aren’t enjoying things you used to, this is another sign you need help also. Your doctor can set up a depression screening for you and, if needed, assist you in getting additional help. Your doctor might also suggest activities for you to avoid isolation and keep your mind active.

 

Do you exercise enough?

 

Exercise is great for even an aging body in numerous ways. It strengthens your muscles and reduces the risk for broken bones. Therefore, discuss with your doctor about a comprehensive exercise program that includes strength training, aerobic exercise, and exercises for balance and flexibility. The right exercise improves your heart strength and keeps your weight down also. This wards off diabetes and other obesity-related health issues.

 

What should you eat?

 

Men have different nutritional needs at different stages of life. For many, eating the right nutrients to lower the risk of heart disease is important. You now may need more calcium, fiber, potassium and Vitamin D. You may also need less sodium and saturated fat. Your doctor will work with you to discover what is best at your age and for your lifestyle.

 

Which vitamins are right for you?

 

Multivitamins and other supplements are important to help you get the nutrients you need. However, some interact with medications your doctor may prescribe. Take a complete list of all of the vitamins and supplements you take to your doctor for a quick review.

 

Should you see a Specialist?

 

A few specialist checkups are often necessary in your older years. You may need to visit an ophthalmologist to get a vision screening, and an otolaryngologist to have your hearing checked. You might want to get your skin evaluated, head to toe, by a dermatologist to look for possible signs of skin cancer if you have been outdoors a lot over the years as well.

 

CCMH is proud to have a variety of general practitioners and specialists to meet your health needs as you age. To find a list of them, visit Ccmhhealth.com/directory.

 

Disclaimer

 

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.

 

Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.

While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.