The Vitamin Every Aging Man Needs: Vitamin D

One vitamin critical for aging men’s health is vitamin D3:  However, about 40 percent of the U.S. population may be deficient in D3. This vitamin helps prevent many diseases and health problems. It is important for lowering the risk for enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Vitamin D3 is commonly called a vitamin; but since our bodies can synthesize it from exposure to sunlight, it is actually a hormone (also called cholecalciferol).

We can also get this substance from diet and through supplementation. This hormone affects many different areas of the body, including your weight, appetite and even your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

As you age, your vitamin D production per hour of sun exposure goes down, while incidence of hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and go up. That is why it is important to get enough vitamin D as grow older. In general, people over age 50 need higher amounts of vitamin D than younger people.

Talk to your doctor to find out what your specific daily vitamin D needs are. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, adults 19 to 70 can take 600 IU, while adults over 70 years can take 800 IU. But more and more healthcare professionals are recommending up to 5000 IU. One microgram of cholecalciferol (D3) is the same as 40 IU of vitamin D.

You are at greatest risk for vitamin D deficiency if you:

  • Live in a northern latitude, or in a place that gets little sunlight.
  • Are over the age of 50.
  • Have a dark pigmentation.
  • Suffer kidney disease.
  • Have liver damage.
  • Are obese.
  • Live in a nursing home.
  • Suffer from celiac disease or another inflammatory bowel condition.

Vitamin D For Prostate Health

Adequate vitamin D levels can support prostate health in several ways. Some studies have found that vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of prostate cancer and that men who have prostate cancer are more likely to have low levels of vitamin D than men without prostate cancer. Other studies have found that vitamin D helps men lower their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. Another way vitamin D can help prostate health is by lowering the risk for enlarged prostate.

Vitamin D For Colorectal Cancer

There has been much research on the association between vitamin D and other cancers, such as colorectal cancer. In fact, a study conducted by cancer prevention experts found that a high intake of vitamin D could reduce colorectal cancer rate by two-thirds. Another study revealed that high vitamin D levels could reduce the risk of getting colon cancer by almost 40 percent.

Vitamin D For Heart Health

Vitamin D and cardiovascular health are closely related. Not only can vitamin D lower your risk for developing cardiovascular disease, according to one study it can lower your risk for a heart attack by 33 percent and heart failure by 20 percent. Another study found that patients with very low levels of vitamin D were 78 percent more likely to have a stroke and 77 percent percent more likely to die than those with adequate levels.

Vitamin D For Bone Health

Vitamin D is important for helping the body absorb calcium and phosphate for stronger bones. Vitamin D also helps bones grow and repair themselves. Without enough vitamin D, you may lose bone, be more likely to break bones and experience an increased risk of falling and breaking your hip.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the importance of vitamin D for bone health. When compared to a placebo, vitamin D showed a 70 percent probability of being better for preventing fractures. Taking a vitamin D supplement can increase bone density by 20 percent in just a few months.

Vitamin D And Diabetes

Adequate vitamin D may lower risk factors for diabetes by improving insulin resistance and sensitivity. A large study in England found that people with high blood levels of vitamin D had a 55 percent reduced risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

Vitamin D And Other Conditions

Additionally, vitamin D influence other areas of health. Many people with neurological problems, autoimmune disorders and sleep problems have been found to be low in vitamin D. Low levels of D may be associated with a higher risk of depression, obesity, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

The good news is that vitamin D deficiency can be remedied. Getting about 20 minutes a day of sunlight can help, as well as taking a good vitamin D3 supplement, especially if you live in northern states or are at risk of a vitamin D deficiency. A study published in the Frontiers of Immunology confirmed significant differences between the two types of vitamin D. While vitamin D2’s impact was deemed questionable, the study found that vitamin D3 had a significant impact on human health.

Editor’s note: There are numerous safe and natural ways to decrease your risk of blood clots including the 25-cent vitamin, the nutrient that acts as a natural blood thinner and the powerful herb that helps clear plaque. To discover these and more, click here for Hushed Up Natural Heart Cures and Common Misconceptions of Popular Heart Treatments!

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Dr. Geo Espinosa

By Dr. Geo Espinosa

Dr. Geo Espinosa is a naturopathic doctor, licensed acupuncturist and certified functional medicine practitioner recognized as an authority in holistic urology and men’s health. He is Clinical Assistant Professor and holistic clinician in Urology at New York University Langone Medical Center. As an avid researcher and writer, Dr. Geo has authored numerous scientific papers and books including co-editing the Integrative Sexual Health book, and author of the best selling prostate cancer book: Thrive, Don't Only Survive.