Health Headlines: Building strong bones with vitamin D

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Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:53 AM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - If you’re having trouble adapting to the recent time change, you’re not alone. While the switch from daylight savings time to standard time might give you an extra hour of sleep, it could also affect your health.

Dr. Caitlin Nicholson is a sports medicine physician with Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush who says a lot of it has to do with how much sun you’re getting, “What you’re looking at is a change in the daylight hours and when you might be exposed to sunlight.”

Less sunlight during the winter months is associated with low vitamin D levels. Bones need calcium and calcium needs vitamin D to keep bones strong. And that sunshine is one of the best ways to get vitamin D.

“So, in those shorter days, you’re at risk for not having enough vitamin D to create healthy, strong bone tissue.”

Low vitamin D levels can lead to poor bone health and a diagnosis of osteopenia and osteoporosis in adults or even rickets in kids. So, what can you do to protect your bones, even in less sunlight?

“Getting regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, can help promote good bones or healthy bones.”

You can also get vitamin D from supplements or food sources like salmon, trout, whitefish, tuna, mushrooms, cheese, eggs, and milk. Stopping habits that are bad for your bones like smoking is also a good choice. As well as limiting alcohol to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

Scientists say nearly half of the world’s population suffers from low vitamin D levels.

Experts recommend that adults between the ages of 19 to 70, take in 600 units of vitamin D per day, and that increases to 800 for those 71 and older.