Vitamin D refers to a group of fat soluble secosteriods responsible for enhancing absorption of calcium. Experts believe that 80% of Indians suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. However, it would be helpful to understand the various elements of this problem.
First of all, what does Vitamin D mean in our day to day activities? Vitamin D is essential because it helps the body to use calcium from the diet. If you shun the sun, hate the taste of milk and hold fast to strict vegan diet, then you are certainly at the risk of facing Vitamin D deficiency. However, it must be noted that most of the Vitamin D (about 80% to 90%) is obtained from exposure to the sun.
Vitamin D deficiency could occur in Vegans as most of the natural sources are animal-based, such as egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, fish and fish oils and beef liver. People who are homebound, living in northern latitudes and those who wear long robes are prone Vitamin D deficiency. This is because of the lack of exposure to the sun. Another reason could be that Kidneys get weak with age and their ability to convert Vitamin D to its active form decreases.
The 25-hyrdroxy vitamin D blood test can be used to determine the amount of Vitamin D in your body. A level of 20 nanograms/millimeter to 50 ng/ml is considered adequate for healthy individuals. Anything less than 12 ng/nl is indicative of Vitamin D deficiency.
“The deficiency syndromes of Vitamin D are fatigue, sleepiness, headache, loss of appetite. Obese people should also be alert as they suffer from very high level of Vitamin D deficiency. Moreover, adults can also suffer from ricket due to deficiency of the Vitamin”, says Dr. Sanjeev Bagai, Vice Chairperson & Director-Dean, Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka.
Vitamin D deficiency has other health risks involved in the picture. Most common could be bone pain and muscle weakness. Researchers suggest that Vitamin D could be used in the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis.