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Vitamin D- A Public Health Crisis, not to be Ignored!

Vitamin D is getting quite much attention for past few years. It’s not an actual vitamin, it is a hormone that the body produces because Vitamins are special nutrients that are needed but are not synthesized in our body. But, vitamin D is synthesized in our body when skin is exposed to the sun. The function of Vitamin D is incorporated with that of Calcium. A deficiency of this vitamin can lead to impaired function of calcium. This is because vitamin D is needed to absorb Calcium in the body.

How common is Vitamin-D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common global issues. Around 1 billion people globally have vitamin D deficiency, while 50% of the population has vitamin D insufficiency.

Things you need to know about Vitamin D-

Vitamin D and Sunlight- When the skin is exposed to the sunlight for 20-25 minutes, it hits the Cholesterol present under the skin layer. It is recommended to stay 11 am to 2 pm as this is the time when the sun is at its peak and also UV ray becomes more intense than at other times. The angle for sunlight needs to be at least 50 degrees to fall on the skin to produce.

Vitamin D Source- Vitamin D is found in a plenty amount in animal-derived sources (liver, eggs, cheese, fatty fish, etc) certain types of mushrooms (maitake, UV-treated portabella), non-dairy beverages (soy milk, almond milk, etc).

If your body is deficit in Vitamin D consult a nutritionist to know how you can easily cope up the deficit by maintaining a nutritious diet- Call- +91 6292 266 878 for online consultation!

Vitamin D deficiency Vitamin D deficiency is seen among people who do not spend enough time in sun or do not consume vitamin D-rich food in their diet. Vitamin D deficiency is clinically manifested with fatigue, bone and muscle pain, hair loss, etc. Vitamin D deficiency is often incorporated with calcium function. In this deficiency, osteoporosis is common as calcium absorption is hampered.  Vitamin D is >50ng/dl is optimal, >20ng/dl is sufficient and <5ng/dl is severely deficient. During this time, body’s immune response also becomes less active, increases risk of cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin D and Obesity- People who are obese with BMI of >30, are more prone to have low vitamin D level in blood. When the subcutaneous layer is thicker under the skin, it is difficult to produce vitamin D by its own, or when it is produced, the circulation becomes difficult.

Vitamin D and bone health- Vitamin D is essential for Calcium absorption and activity in the body. When children lack in Vitamin D, they are more prone to disease such as Ricket. Why focus on Vitamin D?– Vitamin D is not only associated with bone and muscle health, it is also associated with preventing chronic disease.  Vitamin D is also linked to brain and heart health, obesity and more recently with COVID. Studies have claimed that Vitamin D has a role in reducing severity of COVID infection. Children with disabilities, obesity, or prone to seizures need Vitamin D more than others.

How Kidney and Vitamin D production is connected?

Vitamin D is produced by 2 ways- either by UVB radiation or by the metabolism of food or supplements rich in Vitamin D. Kidneys have a /*/major role in converting Vitamin D into its useful form. Provitamin D (25 hydroxycholecalciferol) is converted in its active form Vitamin D (1,25 hydroxycholecalciferol) which is a major endocrine form of Vitamin D. People with Chronic Kidney Disease, is unable to do it. So, in these patients, low Vitamin D level in blood is very natural.

Even though Vitamin D is this much important, children are not spending enough time in the sun or doing physical activity. It is necessary to be physically active for at least 35-60 minutes. Recommended allowance for Vitamin D is- 400 IU/ day for 0-1 year and 600 IU/ day for 1-18 years. Depending on height, weight, age, and sex, the need for vitamin D varies and can go up to 1000 IU/ day. So when serum vitamin D level is lower than normal, consult your physician for further guidance.

A deficiency of Vitamin D can be both symptomatic and asymptomatic.

However, symptoms if any might include-

The Good news is Vitamin D deficiency is both preventable and treatable. Talk to your healthcare provider to know how you can get treated if you have symptoms. Call- +91 6292 266 878 for online consultation and nutrition counselling!

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Dr Pratim Sengupta's Team (Nephro)
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