It has been discovered that deficiency in women over the age of 50 in terms of vitamin D is more widespread than was assumed. The fact is that many of them do not even know that they have a deficiency as these are hard to detect. The symptoms may take a long time to surface and the deficiency advances before the symptoms can be seen. Women with lower levels of vitamin D may gain weight.
The fact is that women after a certain age need a bigger dose of Vitamin D to help their bones remain strong and lessen fractures.
The Vitamin D Deficiency may occur due to some reasons that include:
- Improper diet spread over time
- Problems with absorption
- Elevated requirement in the body
- Diets that are restricted due to conditions like lactose intolerance or some such associated dietary restrictions
- Poor absorption of fat due to many health conditions like Crohn’s disease, liver disease or cystic fibrosis
- Obesity and the layer of fat that occurs taking up more of the Vitamin D
- Gastric Bypass surgery
- Less exposure to sun due to the fact that the person is home bound or other reasons
- Women with darker skin and having more amounts of the melanin pigment
- Working with or association with medication related to lowering cholesterol
- Women having kidney or digestive problems
The process of gaining also could be the cause of vitamin D deficiency in females. As a woman ages her body slowly loses the ability to mobilize Vitamin D and this lessens the rate of calcium absorption. In women who are past their menses, this exposes them to the problem of osteoporosis. When the levels of estrogen come down, women have a tougher time of being able to stimulate the mechanism that builds up the bone tissue. As Vitamin D is very important for bone grown and if it is not sufficient or in case the levels of estrogen are low then calcium which vital for vitamin D to do its work will come down in efficiency. The process of growing older also hinders the process of manufacturing Vitamin D.
The symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency could include:
- Pain in the bones
- Pain and weakness in muscles
- Weaker bones resulting in fractures
- Decreased levels of energy
- Mood swings and depression
- Problems with skin
- Reduced immunity
How to treat Vitamin D Deficiency?
As a woman nears peri menopause or menopause this results in acceleration of bone loss and you can slow this by making sure that you get enough Vitamin D into your system.
The ways to do this are:
- Sufficient exposure to sun and sunlight. You need to spend 15 minutes a day if not on a daily basis at least several times a week. Please make sure that you are not over exposing skin and leading to other problems. So make sure that you do not over expose.
- Take a diet that is replete with vitamin D with items like egg yolks, fish, fish oil, beef liver or milk and dairy products. You could also consider foods that are fortified like margarine, cereals and orange juice
- Taking of supplements. You can do this to quickly and efficiently reduce the damages caused by Vitamin D deficiencies.
In case of a milder deficiency you need not take higher doses of vitamin D supplements. A nominal amount should do of up to 400 IU. But sometimes as much as 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 may also be given. Women who are taking calcium supplements can also go for a brand that also provides Vitamin D3 in a strong form along with it.
In case the deficiency is severe then injections may also be given or even oral doses in excess of 50000IU on a weekly or monthly basis could be given. But long term usage of very high quantities of Vitamin D can also cause other problems
The fact is that there is too much information out there which can befuddle you. There are many factors like gender, age, health history or other issues will affect the way you need to treat this condition.
The prudent thing to do is getting tested by means of a blood test. A simples serum based test for Vitamin D will not indicate the body’s capability to absorb calcium. Then Micro Nutrient testing is a better way to go. You need to consider all factors along with the advice and guidance of your doctor before making a decision.
Do some research and read up on all pertinent facts, but to arrive at the right decision you do need to consult a healthcare specialist.