Vitamin D is one of the best vitamins you can take, especially if you're in your fifties. As the cold winter months drag on and we're all staying indoors as a result of the global health crisis, we're being exposed to less natural sunlight, and thus less vitamin D, than ever before.
It's certainly one of the best supplements to take for any gender and age group, but it's especially true when it comes to the best vitamins for women over 50.
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Why take Vitamin D: Osteoporosis
The conventional reason for taking vitamin D is to reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis, especially in later life. As we age, our muscles and bones become weaker and less dense, and if the body loses too much bone as we age, they become very brittle. This is osteoporosis, and vitamin D deficiency is common in osteoporosis sufferers.
Dr Anthony Komaroff of Harvard University Health writes: "People who are at increased risk for developing osteoporosis (most older adults) are likely to benefit from a regular vitamin D supplement. Authorities differ as to the dose. In my opinion, a dose of 1,000 international units (IU) per day is generally beneficial and safe."
1,000 IU is a common dosage in many over-the-counter vitamin D pills and sprays.
Why take vitamin D: Two more surprising reasons
We know it promotes healthy bones and protects us from the onset of osteoporosis, but the "sunshine vitamin" can help us fight the effects of depression and anxiety, boosting mood. Women are more likely to be clinically diagnosed with depression, but reports find many men suffer in silence, as the effects of the mental health issue go unnoticed by their friends and family.
Fortunately, vitamin D can help in the prevention and treatment of depression, acting as a natural mood booster. This lack of vitamin D in the winter is thought to be the cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder, so additional vitamin D is important to fight back.
What's more, a recent study found a link between vitamin D deficiency and coronavirus. Researchers testing recent COVID-19 admissions to a Spanish hospital found 82% of the coronavirus patients sampled had a vitamin D deficiency, while only 47% of people in a control group without the virus had low levels of the vitamin.
Vitamin D has long been known to provide benefits to your immune system, but this is the first time the vitamin has been linked to fighting the coronavirus. This alone makes it worth picking up the supplement and eating more vitamin D-rich foods, like oily fish and egg yolks.
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Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and is currently Fitness and Wellbeing Editor at TechRadar, covering all things exercise and nutrition on Fit&Well's tech-focused sister site. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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