Nutritionist, Herbalist, Ayurvedic practitioner, Closed Colonic Hydrotherapist, Lecturer, Speaker, Author, Registered Nurse - helping the community for over 30 years.

As the sun begins to fade and scarves, coats and boots begin to resurface we may find ourselves lacking in this important vitamin.

Why Do You Need Vitamin D for Healthy Bones?

For the most part of our lives we never think about our bones, however we can’t do much without them! It usually isn’t until there is a serious problem with our bones do we think about doing something to maintain their health.

In addition to calcium, vitamin D is a nutrient critical for the health of our skeletal system. The active form of vitamin D increases gastrointestinal absorption of calcium and phosphorus to then be incorporated into bones.

Unfortunately studies have shown that at least one in three Australians are deficient in vitamin D. In addition, 73 per cent of adults have vitamin D levels deemed insufficient  for good health.

Do you know your vitamin D status?

Vitamin D rich foods include oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines,

tuna and cod.

Our bone development begins in the womb and continues all through our lives.

Therefore it is essential to optimise bone development during pregnancy, early childhood and teenage years to give your bones the best start they can get! Our bone mass peaks during our late teens and early twenties, normal bone loss occurs as part of the ageing process after the age of 35.

As we age, bone growth is outweighed by increased bone losses, reducing bone density and strength. This highlights the importance of maintaining optimal vitamin D levels throughout

our lifetime to support healthy bone development and maintenance, and tominimise bone loss. Vitamin D needs to be complemented by ensuring adequate calcium intake, trace minerals and regular weight bearing exercise. It is essential to optimise bone development during pregnancy,

early childhood and teenage years to give your bones the best start!

vitamin D during pregnancy can help to give your children’s bones the best start in life.

Vitamin D and Optimising Bone Density During Childhood and Teenage Years

During infancy and childhood bone building continues at a rapid rate. At this age, children and infants are also considered a high risk group for vitamin D deficiency and may require supplementation at your healthcare practitioner’s recommendation.

During the teenage years the body is developing at a rapid rate to achieve its adult form.

It is at this time that peak bone strength and mass is achieved, setting up your bone health for your adult life. By optimising bone density now, there will be greater bone reserves available as you age, reducing the likelihood of poor bone density later in life. Many teenagers spend numerous hours indoors playing iPad games and on the Internet, reducing their production of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.

Vitamin D Reduces Risk of Osteoporosis

When our bone losses outweigh bone deposition the end result is reduced bone mineral density and increased bone fragility, this is osteoporosis. These fragile bones are at significantly increased risk of fractures. Osteoporosis can also cause postural deformities, as well as significant pain, loss of mobility and reduced quality of life associated with these fractures and bone deformities.

Osteoporosis commonly affects those aged over 55 and more women than men are

affected. Women in particular need to support their bone health to prevent osteoporosis.

Improving Your Vitamin D Status and Bone Health With Diet and Lifestyle

  • Get out in the sun (safely): Exposure to direct sunlight is necessary for vitamin D production in the skin. In the summer months, you may only require a few minutes of sun exposure on the face, arms and hands to maintain adequate vitamin D levels (dependent on where you live) however, in winter in southern Australia you may need more. Many people will maintain vitamin D levels through incidental sun exposure. Always follow sun safety guidelines to minimise your risk of skin damage and excess exposure.
  • Get moving: Including specific types of exercise in your daily routine benefits your bone health. Mild stress on the bones actually stimulates bone formation and strengthening, to achieve this you will need to include regular weight bearing or resistance exercise. A minimum of 30 minutes exercise daily is recommended.
  • Stop smoking: Not only bad for your general health, smoking is associated with an increased risk of fractures. This is in part due to reduced bone mineral density, body weight and oestrogen levels occuring in smokers.
  • Eat vitamin D rich foods: The best sources include oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, sardines, tuna and cod. You can also get some vitamin D from butter and eggs, as well as foods that have been fortified with vitamin D.
  • Eat lots of alkaline vegetables: Good bone health has been associated with an increased intake of alkaline vegetables, fruits and olive oil as seen in the Mediterranean diet.
  • Avoid foods that cause calcium loss: Reduce your intake of salt, soft drinks and excessive animal protein consumption. All of these foods increase the excretion of calcium from the body or bind to calcium reducing its ability to be incorporated into bones.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This