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June 11, 2019

Let the Sun Shine - Vitamin D and Aging

Did you know that a little sunshine each day can do more than just boost your mood? Even a few minutes of sun exposure a day can help increase your levels of vitamin D, which has been known to help fight off osteoporosis, certain types of cancer, and depression. As we age, our body’s ability to make vitamin D lessens—that’s why vitamin D deficiency is common among seniors.

Vitamin D is key to bone health and immune system function, and it can also improve cognitive health. There is growing evidence that the right level of vitamin D leads to increased bone-mineral density—a key component to our overall health as we age. Healthy amounts of sunlight exposure are linked to our body’s melatonin and serotonin levels. Melatonin plays an important role in our immune system function and helps regulate our sleep, allowing us to enter sleep more easily. High serotonin levels help us to have positive moods and to feel calm and focused.

Twelve to fifteen minutes in the sunshine, especially in the morning, can boost your vitamin D levels, and is good for your spirits. If you want to spend more than 15 minutes enjoying the weather, be sure to keep hydrated, wear protective clothing, stay in the shade, and don’t forget sunblock. If you think you or your loved one may have a vitamin D deficiency, you can talk to your family doctor about the benefits of increased vitamin D and how to safely supplement.

And remember, if you notice you or your loved one is feeling especially blue or tired, be sure to help them talk to their doctor—depression is common and treatable. Getting support can make all the difference in the world and allow for joy to return to life.

When the sun is out, it’s wonderful for our residents to spend some time outside and enjoy the courtyard or sit by the window to get a little sun on their face. We encourage you and your loved one to spend some time outside each day. Take a few moments with them to notice all the ways summer is announcing its arrival. That’s good for all of us!

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/

Topics: Health, Aging, Alzheimer's

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