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You know how important a daily dose of bone-strengthening vitamin D is, especially as we get older. And whether you top up your levels by soaking up the sun or eating D-rich foods, the superstar nutrient delivers total-body benefits, too. But for those of us who are struggling to get enough of the vitamin — whether because of cloudy days or nutrient gaps in our diets — supplements are crucial. And that may leave you wondering what the best vitamin D supplement is. Here, learn why vitamin D for 50 year old women is key, plus discover the best vitamin D supplements for women.
Why we don’t get enough vitamin D
Known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is an essential micronutrient that becomes even more vital as we age. There are a few ways to get your daily dose: The first is to spend time in the sun. You body absorbs UVB rays and uses existing skin cholesterol to produce the vitamin. And while many folks think a few minutes in the sun can shore up their vitamin D stores, getting your daily dose this way is complicated.
“You cannot make vitamin D anywhere on this planet before 9 am and after 3 pm,” explains Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, author of The Vitamin D Solution. “And in the wintertime, you can’t make any vitamin D.” He estimates that as many as 60% of us are deficient or get insufficient amounts of vitamin D. That’s also due in part to regular use of sunscreen, which prevents the absorption of UVB sunlight into skin needed to make vitamin D.
You can also get the nutrient from savoring foods such as fatty fish, mushrooms and D-fortified milk and orange juice. The downside? vitamin D-fortified foods typically don’t have enough of the nutrient to keep your nutrient levels in the healthy range. The National Institutes of Health recommend supplementing with 600 IUs daily for adults. And a cup of D-fortified milk, for example, has just 25% of that daily allowance. But Dr. Holick says most people can, and should, opt for a higher dose to up levels. Instead, he suggests taking “1,500 to 2,000 units of vitamin D per day for adults, which is the recommendation of The Endocrine Society practice guidelines.”
And if you supplement in addition to the sun and food, you don’t need to worry about getting too much of the nutrient. Dr. Holick notes a daily vitamin D supplement won’t cause toxicity. Tip: Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so taking a supplement with some dietary fat (such as cheese or nuts) will give you the best absorption.
Why vitamin D is vital for women over 50
Perhaps the reason most of us are familiar with vitamin D is for its bone bolstering abilities. Research in The Journal of Aging and Gerontology revealed that vitamin D is essential for protecting against osteoporosis, or weak and brittle bones, especially for elderly women. “When women are going into menopause, they lose 2-3% of their spine bone density per year,” says Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, author of The Vitamin D Solution. “And one way to prevent that is to make sure they’re getting adequate vitamin D.”
The nutrient has been shown to reduce fracture risk by 33%, according to research in the journal Nutrients. And while vitamin D can’t reverse bone loss, Dr. Holick notes that it prevents osteoporosis, especially when the best vitamin D supplements are taken alongside bone-building calcium. Why? Your body needs vitamin D (ideally as D-3, its most absorbable form) to hep absorb calcium. Together, the nutrient duo safeguards against weak bones and painful breaks. (Click through to learn why sardines are an excellent source of calcium.)
More health benefits of vitamin D for women over 50
The benefits don’t end with a stronger skeleton. Here’s what else it can do:
1. Enhance sleep
Research shows folks who keep their levels of vitamin D in the healthy range sleep up to 1 hour and 10 minutes longer each night, according to a study in Nutritional Neuroscience. That’s especially helpful during shorter, darker days, when your body’s ability to produce adequate stores of the vitamin dips.
2. Block dizzy spells
If “the spins” throw the world off kilter when all you did was look up or roll over in bed, you’re likely low on vitamin D. The nutrient feeds the vestibular system in the inner ear that keeps you steady on your feet. Research cited in the Journal Science Progress found that when folks with vertigo (also called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo or BPPV) upped their intake of vitamin D, they cut the risk of future dizzy spells up to 82%. (Click through to our sister publication to learn how stress can cause vertigo — and how to cure it).
3. Ward off diabetes
Turns out simply shoring up your stores of this key nutrient can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes up to 78%, suggests Tufts University research. It works by improving insulin sensitivity and taming chronic inflammation that can contribute to diabetes.
4. Strengthen muscles
As we age, our muscles gradually lose strength, a condition known as dynapenia. That can make it harder to do everything from open up a jar of peanut butt to stay steady on our feet. But supplementing with vitamin D daily can slash the risk of dynapenia by 78% in women over 50, according to a study in Calcified Tissue International. Vitamin D plays an important role in building strength, triggering the release of calcium that repairs and tightens lax muscles.
5. Faster metabolism
Struggling to lose a few stubborn pounds? It’s vitamin D to the rescue! Research in the Journal of the American Nutrition Association suggests upping your vitamin D levels can trim 2″ off your waistline and help you lose 12 lbs. in 24 weeks. The nutrient with supercharges your body’s ability to burn fat effortlessly.
6. Soothe eczema
Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a common condition that causes dry, itchy, red skin. And when it flares up, you want reliable relief. That’s where vitamin D comes in . A study in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that a daily dose of vitamin D cuts eczema 56%—that’s better than the most commonly prescribed prescription! (Click through to learn more about vitamin D-3 benefits for women.)
The best vitamin D supplements for women over 50
You’ll want to check with your doctor to ensure the supplement you’re taking meets your specific dietary needs. But once you’ve gotten the go ahead, we’ve rounded up the best vitamin D supplement options for women. Keep reading for Woman’s World’s picks for best vitamin D supplements for women over 50!
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.
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Best Vitamin D GummiesVitafusion Vitamin D3 Gummies Where to buy: From $11.39 (Originally $12.49), Amazon Capsules can often be hard to swallow or come with a funky aftertaste, so Vitafusion’s vitamin D3 gummies are a tasty alternative. The natural peach and berry flavors of this supplement will have you looking forward to taking it daily, and you'll be loading your system up with 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 — that's 250% of your recommended daily intake!BUY NOW
Best Vitamin D for Bone HealthNordic Naturals Vitamin D3 Where to buy: $14.50, Amazon With 1,000 ICU of vitamin D3 per vitamin, these Nordic Naturals supplements provide you with 125% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of D3 per capsule, making it a must-buy for those who struggle to hit their daily quota. Taking it on a regular basis will help with muscle strength, as well as improve your sleep and melt stubborn prounds, too.BUY NOW
Best Vitamin D Supplement for Low LevelsNatureWise Vitamin D3 Where to buy: $14.99, Amazon If your doctor has cautioned that your vitamin D levels are severely low, NatureWise’s daily capsules will be your best bet for upping your levels. Each softgel tablet contains a whopping 1,250% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin D3, delivered in cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil for optimal absorption. Aside from bone health, sleep support, and muscle health, it can also aid with warding off diabetes.BUY NOW
Best Calcium and Vitamin D SupplementVitacost Pure Encapsulations Calcium With Vitamin D3 Where to buy: $30.80, Vitacost Getting enough vitamin D and calcium each day can be tough, but is crucial for your overall health and well-being. Just two of Vitacost’s Pure Encapsulations will be enough provide you with 250% of your daily D3 needs, plus 40% of your daily calcium needs (which also helps to strengthen bones). In short? This supplement provides plenty of bang for your buck.BUY NOW
Best Vegan Vitamin D Vegan SupplementGarden of Life Mykind Organic Chewables Where to buy: $13.29, Amazon If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet and you aren’t eating fatty fish or fortified dairy sources, you’ll want to be especially vigilant about your vitamin D levels. Garden of Life’s Mykind organic chewable tablets come in a delicious organic raspberry lemon flavor with no added sugars or stevia. Better yet, they contain no animal by-products, making them vegetarian and vegan-friendly while still giving you 2,000 IU — that's 500% — of your necessary vitamin D3 levels.BUY NOW
Best Vitamin D Supplement with Minimal FillersThorne Research Where to buy: $11, iHerb Dietary supplements are often unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so many can contain icky fillers or hidden ingredients that lead to unpleasant side effects. Thorne Research’s vitamin D supplement skips sneaky extras, such as lactose, BHT, BHA, sodium benzoate, and sorbic acid, in favor of 1,250% of your daily vitamin D3. With 92% of Amazon reviewers giving this product five stars, it’s a great option for those who prefer to keep things uncomplicated.BUY NOW
Easiest Vitamin D Supplement to SwallowHealth Thru Nutrition Where to buy: $12.95, Amazon If you dread choking down big pills (don’t we all?) you’ll love Health Thru Nutrition softgels, which are praised by reviewers for their small size and odorless aftertaste. Reviewer Cassandra wrote, “Bought this because my doctor found me to be vitamin D deficient and recommended a supplement. These are the smallest liquid gel pills I've ever seen and I love [them]. They are super easy to swallow. Highly recommend!”BUY NOW
Best Vitamin D Supplement for MoodMetagenics D3 2000 Complex Where to buy: $29.95, Amazon Those who don't get out much once the temps begin to dip or have little sunlight available during these cold, harsh winters will want to try Metagenics’ D3 2000 complex. 89% of reviews are rated at 4 or 5 stars, with several purchasers mentioning the boost in mood they receive from this supplement. “I have taken these for years. I have tried other brands, but I always go back to this one. ... I originally started taking it for the winter blues, and now other members of my family take it in the winter. In addition, I have fibromyalgia, so I need to maintain my vitamin D levels," wrote one pleased shopper.BUY NOW
Best Vitamin D Supplement for PsoriasisZahler Vitamin D3 Where to buy: From $11.96 (Originally $29.22), Amazon Reviewers are going gaga for Zahler’s Vitamin D3 supplements, which pack 50,000 IUs into each and every serving. In addition to providing support for muscles, bones, and teeth, it's also great for those with psoriasis. People who suffer from the chronic autoimmune skin condition boast about this supplement’s ability to improve flare-ups, among other benefits. Wrote one: "My husband and I have been taking this nearly every day for almost three weeks now. He has noticed a major improvement in the psoriasis he's had for 20 years."BUY NOW