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How to Protect Your Bones: Getting Your Daily Dose of D

10/1/2012


Many people are taking precautions to prevent skin cancer by staying out of the sun, covering up with clothing and using either sunscreen or sunblock to protect their skin. But the sun’s rays also are used by the skin to produce Vitamin D, which is essential to developing and maintaining strong bones. Even an SPF (sun protection factor) of 8 reduces the production of vitamin D by 95 percent.

People most likely at risk for not getting enough vitamin D include:

  • those who spend little time in the sun
  • those with very dark skin
  • the elderly
  • those living in nursing homes or other institutions
  • those with certain medical conditions, such as serious diseases of the nervous or digestive systems
  • those who are obese or very overweight.
But, here’s some good news: you can get Vitamin D from other sources and also make changes in your lifestyle to help protect your bones. Below are five steps to help you get started.

Here are five steps to help you get your Daily Dose of D:
  1. Eat right: Get your recommended daily amounts of calcium and vitamin D. Some foods that have vitamin D include fatty fish (mackerel, salmon and tuna), egg yolks and liver. Vitamin D also is added to milk and to some brands of orange juice, soymilk and cereals.
  2.  Exercise: Engage in regular weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercise, such as walking, jogging, dancing, jumping rope, lifting weights or using elastic exercise bands.
  3. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  4. Talk to your health care provider: Learn all you can about bone health.
  5. Get tested: Risk factors that may indicate the need for a bone density test include: a small and thin body frame, advanced age and female gender.

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