Make sure your elderly grandparents get enough vitamin D

Everyone who lives in an area with limited amount of daylight in the winter needs vitamin D from their food or from supplements.

Saturday 18th of October, 2008, Finnish newspaper Aamulehti reported something that made me think. "Finns get less vitamin D in every age group than officially recommended, and even those recommended amounts are being proven too low. According to studies, 40% of Finns suffer from lack of vitamin D"

I believe that same is true with other nationalities also, who live in areas where there are dark winter months.

But what has this got to do with grandparents? Well, older people have even bigger risk of suffering from this lack and the consequences for them can be more serious. This is especially true in old folks homes, where nutrition can be inadequate. According to Aamulehti: In Finland four out of ten hip fractures occur with people who live in old folks homes, and the main cause to softening of the bones is lack of vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D forces elderly also to go to live in institutions, because lack of vitamin D also causes muscle weakness. If the cause of bone softening is lack of vitamin d, those fractures do not heal anymore.

According to Finnish Osteoporosis Society the recommended amount of vitamin D per day should be 20 micrograms, when government recommendation today is 10. Even though too much vitamin D is poisonous, the amount of 50 mikrograms per day is considered safe by EFSA (European Food Safety Agency).

So what to do: Have your elderly grandparents take a blood test of vitamin D. If the reading is under 70 mm/liter, arrange better nutrition for them rapidly. Otherwise they, like everyone, are more prone to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. If the lack of vitamin D becomes serious the inevitable end result is bone softening disease.

Generally nobody over 75 should not be on a diet, unless there is a clear medical reason for it. Digestion gets slower by age and appetite may be poor. Grandparents need to eat lots of greasy fish, take good cod liver oil daily and have foods that they like, so that appetite is kept up. In general let old people eat what they are used to: comfort foods, butter, eggs, broths and so on. The more organic the better. If you want them to live longer with you, do no offer them your diet foods or try to make them veggies.

When it comes to bying supplements, one must remember that there is a Commercial Interest in play (CI). CI here is that medical companies want to sell more vitamin D supplements and they wish that you would forget the natural sources of vitamin D (which cannot be patented). Your own commercial interest may still be to get vitamin D from the best natural sources which are cod liver oil, mushrooms and internal organs. I also choose this because I believe that natural is better.

Doctorate study about this in Finland: https://oa.doria.fi/handle/10024/37651
More info from Johns Hopkins: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080811195629.htm

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