How much vitamin D do you need?‏

Vitamin D is a vitamin (a substance the body requires in small doses for proper nutrition and function) that is fat-soluble, meaning that it is dissolved and stored in the fat of your body. Vitamin D maintains proper levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood and together with calcium builds strong bones. The November 9, 2005, issue of JAMA contains an article about sufficient levels of vitamin D for healthy bones.



Sun exposure for 10 to 15 minutes at least twice a week usually provides adequate amounts of vitamin D. Certain conditions such as cloud cover, northern climates, pollution, and the winter months may not provide adequate sunlight exposure. Excess sun exposure causes skin cancer, so you should limit exposure to sunlight, not use tanning beds, and wear protective clothing and a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 when outdoors for longer than 10 to 15 minutes twice a week. Infants should be kept out of direct sunlight all together.


When vitamin D levels are low, bones become weak and brittle. In children, vitamin D deficiency causes a disease called rickets, which results in poorly developed weak bones, delayed growth, immune deficiencies, and, when severe, seizures. In adults, vitamin D deficiency causes a disease called osteomalacia, which results in weak bones, fractures, bone pain, and weakness. Low levels of vitamin D may be a factor in osteoporosis (thin bones).


* Infants who are exclusively breast-fed or receiving less than about 2 cups a day of vitamin D fortified formula or milk
* People who have darker-pigmented skin
* People with very limited sunlight exposure
* People with fat malabsorption diseases, such as pancreatitis, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, and surgical resection of the bowel
* People who have liver or kidney disease or enzyme deficiencies
* People in the northern hemisphere during winter


For infants to adults aged 50 years, the daily adequate intake is 200 international units (IU) of vitamin D. For adults aged 51 to 70 years, 400 IU is required, and for those older than 70 years, 600 IU is recommended. Discuss with your doctor the proper vitamin D intake and sun exposure for you and whether you should take a supplement, especially if you are at risk of developing a deficiency. Too much vitamin D can occur from taking excess vitamin D supplements and can cause serious problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and weakness or even confusion and heart rhythm abnormalities.

Ageing Process

WE all  accept that getting older is inevitable, and now leading clinicians have revealed the exact age when different body parts start to decline, most alarming being the brain and lungs.

French doctors have found that the quality of men’s’ sperm starts to deteriorate  by 35, so that by the time a man is 45 a third of pregnancies end in miscarriage.

Here, with the help of leading clinicians, Angela Epstein tells the ages when different parts of the body start to lose their battle with time.

BRAIN –  Starts ageing at 20.
As we get older, the number of nerve  cells – or neurons – in the brain decrease.
We start with around 100  billion, but in our 20s this number starts to decline.
By 40, we could  be losing up to 10,000 per day, affecting  memory, co-ordination and brain function.

GUT –  Starts ageing at 55.
A healthy gut has a good balance between harmful  and ‘friendly’ bacteria.
But, levels of friendly bacteria in the gut drop significantly after 55, particularly in the large intestine, says Tom  MacDonald, Professor of Immunology at Barts and The London Medical  School.
As a result, we suffer from poor digestion and an increased risk of gut disease.
Constipation is more likely as we age, as the flow of digestive juices from the stomach, liver, pancreas and small intestine slows  down.

BREASTS –  Start ageing at 35.
BY their mid-30s, women’s breasts start losing  tissue and fat,  reducing size and fullness.
Sagging starts properly at 40 and the  areola (the area surrounding the nipple) can shrink considerably.

BLADDER –  Starts ageing at 65.
Loss of bladder control is more likely when you hit 65.
Women are more vulnerable to bladder problems as, after the  menopause, declining estrogen levels make tissues in the urethra – the  tube through which  urine passes – thinner and weaker, reducing bladder support.
Bladder  capacity in an older adult generally is about half that of a younger person – about two cups in a  30-year-old and one cup in a 70-year-old. ….

LUNGS –  Start ageing at 20.
Lung capacity slowly starts to  decrease from the  age of 20.
By the age of 40, some people are already experiencing breathlessness.
This is partly because the muscles and the rib cage which control breathing stiffen up.

VOICE –  Starts ageing at 65.
Our voices become quieter and hoarser with age.
The  soft tissues in the voice box (larynx) weaken, affecting the pitch,  loudness and quality of the voice.
A woman’s voice may become huskier  and lower in pitch, whereas a man’s might become thinner and higher.

EYES  –  Start ageing at 40.
Glasses are the norm for many over-40s as  failing eyesight kicks in – usually long-sightedness, affecting our  ability to see objects up close.

HEART  – Starts ageing at  40.
The heart pumps blood less  effectively around the  body as we get older.
This is because blood vessels become less elastic, while arteries can harden or become blocked because of fatty deposits forming on the coronary arteries – caused by eating too much saturated fat.
The blood  supply to the heart is then reduced, resulting in painful angina.
Men  over 45 and women over 55 are  at greater risk of a heart attack.

LIVER –  Starts ageing at 70.
This is the only organ in the body  which seems to defy  the aging process.It is the most trust worthy of all our organs.(So do not damage it at least with your deliberate actions !)

KIDNEYS –  Starts ageing at 50.
With kidneys, the number of filtering units (nephrons) that remove waste from the bloodstream starts to reduce in  middle age.

PROSTATE  –  Starts ageing at 50.
The prostate often becomes enlarged with  age, leading to  problems such as increased need to urinate, says Professor Roger Kirby,  director of the Prostate Centre in London .
This is known as benign  prostatic hyperplasia  and affects half of men over 50, but rarely those under 40.
It occurs  when the prostate absorbs large amounts of the male sex hormone  testosterone, which increases the  growth of cells in the prostate.
A normal prostate is the size of a  walnut, but the condition can increase this to the size of a tangerine.

BONES  – Start ageing at 35.
‘Throughout our life, old bone  is broken down  by cells called osteoclasts and replaced by bone-building cells called  osteoblasts – a process called bone turnover,’ explains Robert Moots,  Professor of  Rheumatology at Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool . Children’s  bone growth is rapid – the skeleton takes just two years to  renew
Itself completely. In adults, this can take  ten years. Until our mid-20s, bone density is still increasing.
But at 35 bone loss begins as part of the natural ageing process.

TEETH  – Start ageing at 40.
As we age, we produce less  saliva, which washes  away bacteria, so teeth and gums are more vulnerable to decay. Receding  gums – when tissue is lost from gums around the teeth – is common in adults over 40.

MUSCLES  – Start ageing  at 30.
Muscle is constantly being built up and broken down,  a process which is well balanced in young adults.
However, by the time  we’re 30, breakdown is greater than buildup, explains Professor Robert  Moots.
Once  adults reach 40, they start to lose between 0.5 and 02 per cent of their muscle each year.
Regular exercise can help prevent  this.

HEARING –  Starts ageing mid-50s.
More than half of people over 60 lose  hearing because of their age, according to the Royal National  Institute for the Deaf.

SKIN – Starts ageing mid-20s.
The skin  starts to age naturally in your  mid-20s.

TASTE  AND SMELL –  Start ageing at 60.
We start out in life with about 10,000  taste buds  scattered on the tongue.
This number can halve later  in life.
After we turn 60, taste and smell gradually decline, partly as  a result of the normal ageing process.

FERTILITY –  Starts ageing at 35.
Female fertility begins to decline after  35, as the number  and quality of eggs in the ovaries start to fall.
The lining of the womb  may become thinner, making it less likely for a fertilised egg to take, and also creating an environment  hostile to sperm.

HAIR –  Starts ageing at 30.
Male hair loss usually begins in the 30s. Hair is  made in tiny pouches  just under the skin’s surface, known as follices. A hair normally grows  from each follicle for about three years, is then shed, and a new hair  grows.
Most people  will have some grey hair by the age of 35.
When we are young, our hair  is coloured by the pigments produced by cells in the hair follicle  known as melanocytes.