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The importance of vitamin D for women

The importance of vitamin D for women
Mar 13, 2017

Women and vitamin D

We all need vitamin D to build and maintain strong, healthy bones throughout our lives. Without it we can develop bone diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Women are at a higher risk of developing these diseases because we have less bone mass than men and we lose bone density as we age and our estrogen levels naturally decrease. These two factors make it especially important for women to maintain an adequate amount of vitamin D throughout their life, as well as eating foods high in calcium.

No bones about it

Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorus. Together these three nutrients work to maintain healthy bone mass. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to brittle, thin, misshaped bones, osteomalacia (a softening of bones), or osteoporosis (weakened bone structure), which can also contribute to weakened muscle mass.[1] Women are four times as likely to develop these bone diseases than men, especially women over the age of 50. This is particularly true as menopause kicks in and hormone levels decrease.[2] Often times, bone disease is not even detected until after a fracture has occurred caused from the weakened and thinned out bones. To help prevent this, women should aim to take in 600-800IU daily of vitamin D, however many studies have shown that taking 1,000 IU can be more beneficial and poses no harm[3].

Building a baby?

Vitamin D is very important during periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy. Vitamin D allows us to absorb calcium and phosphorous into our bones and teeth. There is also a vitamin D receptor in almost every cell of our body. When we think of how quickly a baby develops during gestation, vitamin D is an important nutrient during this time. It is best to check with your health practitioner as well as to review the amounts in your prenatal vitamins.

The best source of vitamin D is sunshine; however, our sun time can be limited due to higher latitudes, the colder weather, and sunscreen. A healthy diet including foods like salmon, tuna, eggs, mushrooms, and fortified dairy can also be beneficial. Diet and direct sunlight exposure alone may still not be enough when it comes to vitamin D. To view our supplements, click here.

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About the author:

Brigitte Zeitlin | MPH, RD, CDN

Brigitte Zeitlin, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian-nutritionist and owner of BZ Nutrition, a private nutrition counseling practice. She has been featured in Us Weekly, Women’s Health, SELF, and Well+Good. Become a client and work with Brigitte by visiting bznutritionny.com.

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