5 Incredible Effects of Taking Vitamin D Supplements After 50

One day we are trucking along enjoying our youth. And then one day we wake up in our 50s, and we find creaks, cracks, and other feelings that we never experienced before.

Unfortunately, as our age increases, our risk for developing certain health conditions like osteoporosis, cancer, and hypertension increase as well. In other words, a 50-year-old body is very different than a 20-year-old body. And because of this, taking certain supplements may result in some surprising effects once we reach a certain age.

Many of us have jumped on the vitamin D supplementation bandwagon over the past few years. This supplement has become so popular that it is now the second most common supplement consumed by Americans.

Vitamin D is unique because, when exposed to the sun, the human body can make this nutrient. But since most of us are not baking in the sun like we used to, the opportunity to produce this key vitamin gets diminished.

If you are over 50 and you fall into the category of “vitamin D supplement taker”, here are some side effects that you may experience. 

1. You may have stronger bones.

As people age, their risk of osteoporosis increases. Approximately 10 million adults, over the age of 50, suffer from osteoporosis and 34 million have reduced bone mass or osteopenia. Fortunately, supplementation with vitamin D has been liked to higher bone mineral density and a reduced risk of developing osteoporosis (weaker bones).

Especially in the case of women who are post-menopausal, focusing on bone health is key, as the risk of fracture is increased. And who wants to deal with a bone fracture when you don’t have to?

2. You may experience less depression.

Over half of depression cases manifest later in life. And late-onset depression is associated with increased risk of morbidity, increased risk of suicide, decreased physical, cognitive and social functioning, and greater self-neglect, all of which are in turn associated with increased mortality.

Several vitamin D receptors have been identified in the brain that affect mood, suggesting that low vitamin D levels may be associated with cognitive decline and symptoms of depression.

There are direct links between low levels of serum vitamin D higher late-life depression risk. Taking vitamin D supplements can help support healthy vitamin D levels, possibly combatting depression risk.

3. You may have a lower cancer risk.

Results from a study published in BMJ suggest that high levels of vitamin D are associated with a 20% lower risk of certain cancers in both men and women compared with those with low vitamin D levels. If you are taking vitamin D supplements and end up having levels on the higher side, you may notice a reduced risk of certain cancers too.

4. You may have a healthy blood pressure.

Observational data have shown an association between low vitamin D levels and an increased incidence of high blood pressure as well as risk for hypertension. So, one surprising side effect you may experience if you regularly take vitamin D supplements is healthy blood pressure, although that doesn’t mean you can’t neglect following an overall healthy diet.

5. You may have a healthy immune system.

As a person ages, their immune system gradually deteriorates. An association between low levels of serum vitamin D and increased risk of developing several immune-related diseases and disorders (including COVID-19) has been seen. Along with washing your hands and following all of the CDC recommendations, making sure your vitamin D levels are in check may help you keep the ick away.

Article by Lauren Manaker MS for Eat This, Not That©

Source: 5 Incredible Effects of Taking Vitamin D Supplements After 50 (msn.com)

Surprising Effects of Taking Fish Oil Supplements Every Day

Note: This article is all about various supplements and the side effects no one tells you about. I bring this to your attention because I take a large amount of fish oil for my high triglyceride level. Here is what I just learned about it.

©© Provided by Eat This, Not That!

 Fish Oil

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids—as in fish oil supplements—may increase the potential risk for atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm disorder) in people with high blood lipids and is linked to a five times greater likelihood of having a stroke. “Our study suggests that fish oil supplements are associated with a significantly greater risk of atrial fibrillation in patients at elevated cardiovascular risk,” says Dr. Salvatore Carbone of Virginia Commonwealth University, US. “Although one clinical trial indicated beneficial cardiovascular effects of supplementation, the risk for atrial fibrillation should be considered when such agents are prescribed or purchased over the counter, especially in individuals susceptible to developing the heart rhythm disorder.”

Last year, I was diagnosed with a heart murmur. I don’t have a history of any heart problems! I think I need to speak to my doctor, ASAP!

Source: Eat This, Not That©

Source: Surprising Effects of Taking Supplements Every Day, Says Physician (msn.com)

This Popular Supplement Could Be Causing Nightmares

For many, the over-the-counter capsules can be a seemingly harmless way to do everything from boost their system to help promote longevity. But just like any medication, taking a supplement can come with side effects—including causing nightmares. Read on to see which daily dose could be terrorizing your dreams.

Taking high doses of melatonin could be causing you to have nightmares.

When trying to secure a good night’s sleep, many turn to melatonin supplements as an easy remedy or in an attempt to avoid prescription sleep aids. But according to doctors, one of the potential side effects of the bedtime dosage could be causing a different kind of disturbance while you snooze.

“If you go into your local drugstore, most melatonin products are five to 10 milligrams,” Whitney Roban, PhD, a clinical psychologist and sleep specialist, tells Inverse. “Anything over five milligrams has been shown to increase the likelihood of negative side effects like nausea, increased anxiety, and headaches. The side effects I hear about the most are very vivid dreams and nightmares.”

Melatonin can cause longer deep sleep cycles where nightmares and vivid dreams happen.

People turn to melatonin when they’re in search of better slumber because it’s a naturally occurring “sleep hormone” found in the body that regulates the cycles during the day when we feel tired or alert. Because of this, some doctors hypothesize that melatonin could cause more people to fall into a deeper sleep—with some previous studies even finding that it can increase the amount of time in the REM stage where people are most likely to have nightmares.

“If you are spending more time in the stage of sleep where vivid dreams are most likely to occur, this may naturally lead to increases in bad/vivid dreams,” Michelle Drerup, PhD, a behavioral sleep medicine psychologist, tells the Cleveland Clinic.

Studies have found that many melatonin supplements contain different dosages than advertised.

While research is still lacking on why melatonin could be causing nightmares in some who take it, other research has shown that the unregulated nature of the supplement industry could potentially be a factor. In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers found more than 71 percent of supplements tested were not within a ten percent margin of the listed dosage and that 26 percent were found to contain other ingredients such as serotonin. Even within the same production lots, the researchers found that the melatonin content in the product varied by as much as 465 percent.

Besides taking larger doses than necessary, some doctors also warn against taking the supplements for extended periods of time. “Minimal research exists on using melatonin beyond a few months,” Drerup tells the Cleveland Clinic. “In general, melatonin usage has only been deemed safe for up to three months, even though many people take it for much longer.”

You should keep track of your dreams and sleep quality to figure out if melatonin could be causing your nightmares.

Experts point out that some of the nightly side effects of melatonin could be the results of interactions with other medicines or simply what you did during the day. “It’s relative to what else [the person] is taking. That’s the problem with talking about nightmares and dreams: It’s going to be very subjective,” sleep doctor Raj Dasgupta, MD, tells health and wellness website Well + Good. He points out that dreams can also be affected by drinking alcohol, eating certain types of food, or taking other supplements.

Because of this, Dasgupta says keeping track of your sleep and dreams with a retrospective log each morning can help you determine what’s causing you to have nocturnal frights. “On the nights that you did have these nightmares, describe them. Did you take melatonin? Maybe that piece of information—combined with everything else [what you ate and drank, if you exercised, what other supplements you’re taking]—can help you decide to taper or stop.

This article written by Zachary Mackfor Best Life©

Source: If You’re Taking This Popular Supplement, It Could Be Causing Nightmares (msn.com)

5 Sneaky Signs You Might Have a Vitamin D Deficiency

As far as vitamins and nutrients go, vitamin D has been pretty on-trend recently. This could be in part to the robust research behind all of its potential health benefits, from supporting healthy bones and reducing inflammation, to lowering risk of depression. Some recent studies have even found that it might help protect people from COVID-19 complications. But what actually is vitamin D? And how do you know if you’re falling short on your needs? Here we dive into the science behind how much vitamin D you actually need, plus five sneaky signs you might be deficient. 

How much vitamin D do you need each day?

Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption, which is important for healthy bones and muscles. It also can help reduce inflammation, support a healthy immune system and more. It is recommended that adults between age 19 and age 70 get 600 IUs (or 15 mcg) of vitamin D per day. One of the main ways we get this vitamin is through sun exposure. Our skin can create sufficient vitamin D from approximately 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure to our face, arms, hands and legs daily (or at least twice per week), but this can vary significantly based on where you live. 

There are also several food sources of vitamin D, including eggs, salmon, sardines, yogurt, milk, tuna, UV-exposed mushrooms and fortified foods, like orange juice and breakfast cereal. Additionally, vitamin D supplements from reliable brands, like NatureMade and Garden of Life, can help you meet your needs.

5 signs you might have a vitamin D deficiency 

1. You’re feeling depressed

One exciting new area of research is focused on how vitamin D levels can affect mental health, specifically depression. In a large review of 61 studies, researchers concluded that serum vitamin D levels inversely correlated with clinical depression, meaning the lower your vitamin D levels, the more likely you were to be depressed. If you are feeling down more often than usual, especially during the winter months (looking at you, seasonal affective disorder), vitamin D deficiency might be a factor. The good news is, upping your intake might help improve some symptoms.

Another recent study found that vitamin D supplementation favorably impacted self-reported depression ratings in participants. However, other reviews of research have had inconclusive results, so more research is needed to clarify vitamin D’s relationship with mental health. As always, talk with your doctor before starting any new supplement. Your doctor might also be able to check your serum vitamin D levels to see if you’re deficient.  

2. You live in a cold-weather climate 

As mentioned, our bodies can make vitamin D from exposure to the sun. However, the sun has to have a high enough UV index (about 3 or above) in order for our bodies to be able to do this. We also have to have enough skin exposed—which doesn’t often happen in the winter. In places with a long, cold winter, say, Vermont, there are only a few months of the year where making enough vitamin D from the sun is viable. If you are curious about this, the app Dminder can help you track the specific amount of vitamin D you are getting from the sun based on the UV index, time of day, amount of sun exposure and more. 

3. You have weak bones

This could be the most obvious sign that you might not be meeting your vitamin D needs. The vitamin is crucial for healthy, strong bone formation. If you routinely experience bone breaks or stress fractures, you could be vitamin D deficient. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor to see the best course of treatment and to learn if a vitamin D supplement could be right for you. 

4. You have high blood pressure 

While the connection between vitamin D and bone health is well established, the connection between vitamin D and heart health is less clear. Some studies have found that vitamin D influences the same system (the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis) that controls your blood pressure. This might mean that inadequate vitamin D levels might lead to high blood pressure in some cases.

However, other studies have found inconclusive results about whether vitamin D supplementation can help lower high blood pressure. More research is needed to clarify the relationship of vitamin D and blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure and think you might be deficient in vitamin D, talk to your doctor to see if testing your vitamin D levels is appropriate. 

5. You follow a vegan diet 

Unfortunately, most food sources of vitamin D come from animal products such as eggs, fish and dairy. Avoiding these foods can put you at a higher risk of deficiency. But it’s not impossible to meet your needs if you follow a vegan diet. It might take some extra planning, but there are plant-based ways to get your 600 IUs in per day. Include vegan-friendly food sources of vitamin D such as UV-exposed mushrooms, fortified orange juice and fortified breakfast cereals. Also, try to spend some time outdoors each day, especially if you live in a warmer climate. 

The bottom line 

Vitamin D is involved in a variety of important body functions, from bone health to brain health and more. But meeting your needs can be easier said than done, especially if you follow a vegan diet or live in a colder-weather climate. Feeling more depressed than usual or having high blood pressure might be symptoms of an underlying deficiency. If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, talk to your doctor or a dietitian about a serum vitamin D test or to see if supplementation is right for you.

Article by Jessica Ball, M.S., RD for Eating Well©

Source: 5 Sneaky Signs You Might Have a Vitamin D Deficiency (msn.com)