A is for adiposity, F is for falls, M is for muscle weakness. Together, they spell “D”

Posted by on Sep 14, 2009 in health, general | 0 comments


Wonder what I’m talking about yet? A newly published study in the advanced online edition of the journal menopause suggests that Vitamin D is a critical element for maintaining physical fitness during the postmenopause years.

In this study, researchers evaluated the following factors in 242 postmenopausal women that could account for overall physical fitness:

  • age
  • years since menopause
  • weight
  • blood levels of vitamin D
  • daily energy expenditure
  • calcium intake
  • overall body composition
  • waist and hip fat

The findings? Although there were many factors contributing to overall physical fitness, vitamin D was a common variable, contributing to fat mass, lean mass, balance, and handgrip strength. Hence, obtaining and maintaining adequate vitamin D appears to be important to staying lean, decreasing the risk of falls due to balance and maintaining muscle strength.

The Institute of Medicine currently recommends that women under the age of 50 obtain at least 200 IUs Vitamin D daily, and women over the age of 50, at least 400 IUs. Although a consensus has yet to be reached, many experts say that the majority of people can obtain adequate levels of vitamin D through about 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back — preferably without sunscreen. Of course, this goes against common sense and skin cancer warnings and people who are especially prone to or have a skin cancer risk might want to consider obtaining their Vitamin D through daily supplements.

Regardless, it’s interesting to learn that researchers have unveiled yet another essential role for Vitamin D in our lives. Fitness is important to many aspects of aging — not just to maintain physical health — but also to promote healthier emotional well-being.

Be sure that you are paying attention to D. When it comes to postmenopause, D is for definite.

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