Vitamin D and Better Mobility
Vitamin D, which has already been linked with lower blood pressure and weight, can also help older adults maintain mobility, according to a new study.
Researchers at the Sticht Center on Aging , Wake Forest School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, N.C., charted mobility among 3,000 study participants aged 70-79 and found that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D at the beginning of the study were twice as likely to have a disability involving mobility as were those who had the highest level of vitamin D.
Assistant professor Denise Houston said that vitamin D gets calcium into muscles and that calcium is necessary for muscle contraction.
Sunlight is a good source of vitamin D, but because of skin-cancer worries, many people are wary of exposing themselves to enough sunlight to get the benefits of the vitamin. And as people get older, their ability to absorb vitamin D through sunlight is lessened.
Foods can also be high in vitamin D. The best way to get it is through fatty fish like tuna, and through egg yolks, cheese and mushrooms. But because it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet alone, researchers recommend a daily dose of a vitamin D supplement. Experts say that people over 70 should be getting at least 800 International Units (I.U.) per day.
Houston cautioned, though, that further studies are needed to determine a definitive link between vitamin D and mobility.