Health Fo­cus

Do you ex­pe­ri­ence reg­u­lar body aches and feel tired all the time for no plau­si­ble rea­son? There’s a good chance your body may be lack­ing a size­able amount of vi­ta­min D.

Health & Nutrition - - CONTENTS -

Know all about vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency

Most of our health prob­lems emerge from sim­ple de­fi­cien­cies that go un­de­tected, says Mum­bai-based or­thopaedic Dr Ni­rad Vengsarkar. Here, he tells us all about the mod­ern day prob­lem of vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency and its cure… Re­cent stud­ies have re­vealed that 65-70% In­di­ans are vi­ta­min D-de­fi­cient, and an­other 15% have in­suf­fi­cient vi­ta­min D. How­ever, Dr Ni­rad says that peo­ple in In­dia have al­ways been vi­ta­min D-de­fi­cient; it’s just that now the aware­ness has in­creased. Pop­u­larly known as the ‘Sun­shine Vi­ta­min’, the max­i­mum amount of vi­ta­min D is pro­duced by the body in re­sponse to the skin be­ing ex­posed to sun­light, and through few food sources.

All the same, it’s hard to imag­ine how such a large pop­u­la­tion lacks in a vi­ta­min avail­able abun­dantly and freely in na­ture. The an­swers lie in: Lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, closed-door work life and desk jobs, lim­it­ing move­ment and con­se­quent ex­po­sure to the sun.

Ef­fects Of Vi­ta­min D De­fi­ciency

Mum­bai-based nu­tri­tion­ist Tripti Gupta has made an im­por­tant ob­ser­va­tion among her vi­ta­min-D de­fi­cient pa­tients. In­ci­den­tally, when the vi­ta­min D level is very low, the choles­terol level goes up. Vi­ta­min D, be­ing a fat sol­u­ble vi­ta­min, de­fi­ciency of it in­creases the choles­terol level in the body.

Cal­cium ab­sorp­tion in the bones de­creases, which is very im­por­tant for bone and mus­cle strength. De­fi­ciency of vi­ta­min D may cause reg­u­lar body aches and you may feel tired all the time. It also af­fects the hor­monal bal­ance of the body. Peo­ple suf­fer­ing from hor­monal im­bal­ance tend to ig­nore their vi­ta­min D lev­els think­ing th­ese are two dif­fer­ent prob­lems, and need to be tack­led dif­fer­ently.

Treat­ing Vi­ta­min D De­fi­ciency

Vi­ta­min D is like the base for the proper func­tion­ing of the body. When the pa­tient pro­tects the base, ev­ery­thing else falls in line. Dr Ni­rad says, “To in­crease the ab­sorp­tion of vi­ta­min D, peo­ple must spend more time in the sun. Morn­ing walks are very ben­e­fi­cial. And, for the vi­ta­min-de­fi­cient peo­ple, our study says that the max­i­mum sun­light ex­po­sure is be­tween 12 p.m and 2 p.m in the af­ter­noon, when the sun is at its peak. Spend­ing 20 min­utes in the sun, with skin ex­posed, will be highly ben­e­fi­cial for them. “Un­for­tu­nately, most peo­ple are wor­ried about the sun tan, or the pig­men­ta­tion from the sun dur­ing those hours.”

Di­etary Rec­om­men­da­tions

While sun­light and sup­ple­ments help im­mensely, cer­tain di­etary changes need to be made too… Vi­ta­min D can be con­sumed from nat­u­ral sources like fish, chicken, soy­bean, sun­flower seeds etc, or from ar­ti­fi­cial sources like for­ti­fied ce­re­als or for­ti­fied milk. Vi­ta­min D is best ab­sorbed when con­sumed and com­bined with vi­ta­min C sources and other fat sol­u­ble vi­ta­mins like vi­ta­mins A, E and K in proper com­bi­na­tions. The pa­tient can try mix­ing sun­flower and sesame seeds with salt and sugar and make a nice chut­ney. The best time to con­sume the vi­ta­min tablet would be just be­fore ex­er­cis­ing. HAR­SHA AD­VANI

Vi­ta­min D can be con­sumed from nat­u­ral sources like fish, chicken, soy­bean, sun­flower seeds etc, or from ar­ti­fi­cial sources like for­ti­fied ce­re­als or for­ti­fied milk.

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