It is known that vitamin D can help our body absorb calcium and strengthen our bones.
But recent research has shown that vitamin D has much wider health benefits.
For example, scientists from Buck Institute find that vitamin D could work through genes that influence longevity and age-related health conditions.
This finding may explain why vitamin D deficiency has been linked to breast, colon and prostate cancer, and obesity, heart disease as well as depression.
Normal aging often results in the accumulation of toxic protein, and this can lead to many health conditions, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, as well as type 2 diabetes and some forms of heart disease.
Vitamin D3, which is converted into the active form of vitamin D, could prevent the toxicity caused by human beta-amyloid, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
In the study, the team found vitamin D could improve the ability of proteins to maintain their shape and function over time.
In addition, vitamin D influences hundreds of genes, and most cells have vitamin D receptors.
So how much vitamin D does one need and how do they best get it?
The Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommends a daily intake of 600 International Units (IU) for people between 1 and 70 years old, and 800 IU daily for older people.
The upper limit is set at 4,000 IU per day for adults.
If one takes too much vitamin D, it can raise blood levels of calcium and lead to vascular and tissue calcification. This can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels and kidneys.
But the researchers in the study disagree with this.
Instead, they recommend universal supplementation of between 800 – 1000 IU of vitamin D daily for adults.
In addition, older adults may be prone to vitamin D deficiency because their skin’s ability to generate vitamin D from sun or UV light exposure declines with age.
Older people are also less likely to spend time in the sun, are may have diets lacking in sources of vitamin D. Some gastrointestinal disorders could make it harder to absorb vitamin D.
The researchers say that their future research will test vitamin D to measure and determine how it affects aging, disease and function, and clinical trials in humans will go after the same measurements.
The study is published in Cell Reports.
Source: Cell Reports.
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