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.
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.”
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.