Do you remember when the Howdy Doody show first aired? Or how about when they tested the first atomic bomb in New Mexico? Perhaps Marilyn Monroe or James Dean once made your teenage heart go pitty-pat?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, chances are you’re a senior, and low in two critical vitamins. And if you’re feeling a bit blue these days, those shortfalls may be to blame.
An alarming new study has found that more one in two seniors…52 percent… are low in vitamin D. And one in four aren’t getting enough vitamin B-12 either.
German scientists discovered the deficiencies when they combed through over 1,000 blood samples from volunteers between the ages of 65 and 93 enrolled in the KORA-Age study.
They checked on iron, folate, vitamin D and vitamin B-12 levels. And the last two were distressingly low in a large number of the seniors, according to the study published in the journal Nutrients.1
52% of seniors are low in vitamin D
As a Healthier Talk reader, you likely know more than the average Joe about how low D levels can affect your health.
Low vitamin D can contribute to…
- bone problems
- high blood pressure
- mood issues
- erectile dysfunction
Experts say a D deficiency can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s up to a shocking 53 percent. Low D is associated with several different kinds of cancer, including breast and prostate. And studies have even linked drooping D to elevated blood sugar and type 2 diabetes.
(Worried YOU’RE low in vitamin D, too? Be on the lookout for these eight surprising signs of vitamin D deficiency.)
Your body naturally produces vitamin D when UV rays from the sun hit your skin. But since seniors tend to spend less time outdoors, your body could be falling short on D production. Plus cloudy weather and cold temps during the cooler months can mean you’re not getting nearly enough of the so-called “sunshine” vitamin.
Your doctor can run a simple blood test to check your D levels. Or you can find testing kits online.
If you find you’re one of the 52 percent of seniors who needs a vitamin D boost, you can begin to build up your levels by adding more D-rich foods to your menu. Wild caught fatty fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are by far your best bet.
You can also get some extra D from liver, eggs and mushrooms. But to be sure you’re getting enough D, especially during the winter months, you might want to also consider a supplement.
A daily teaspoon of cod liver oil should do the trick. But if you can’t stomach the taste, Healthier Talk contributor Dr. Glenn Rothfeld recommends taking a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement daily (not synthetic D2). You can find them in your local health food store, pharmacy or online.
One in four seniors isn’t getting enough B12
Running low in vitamin B12 can have some serious consequences for the one in four seniors who aren’t getting enough too. If you’ve found yourself battling brain fog, memory problems or fatigue experts it’s possible a lack of vitamin B12 is the cause. And low B12 is associated with mood problems, depression and cognitive impairments.
According to Dr. Rothfeld, a severe B12 deficiency can cause a troubling list of seemingly unrelated symptoms including…
- trouble walking
- swollen tongue
- pins and needles
- breathing problems
- heart rate issues
In fact, some folks suffering from severely low B12 have been misdiagnosed with mental health issues such as schizophrenia and even Alzheimer’s disease.
You can try raising your vitamin B12 levels through diet. Once again, wild caught fatty fish are a good source, as are scallops and shrimp. Lamb, beef, yogurt and eggs can help boost your levels too.
But seniors often have a tough time absorbing vitamin B12. Which is why it’s a good idea to consider taking a supplement as well.
Don’t let a vitamin deficiency destroy your golden years. Have your vitamin D and B12 levels checked today!
1. “Prevalence and Predictors of Subclinical Micronutrient Deficiency in German Older Adults: Results from the Population-Based KORA-Age Study,” Nutrients 2017, 9(12), 1276; doi:10.3390/nu9121276