Bask in the goodness of vitamin D – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Vitamin D, which is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight, is essential for overall health and well-being. It plays a vital role in keeping bones and teeth healthy. Unfortunately, it is the most under-diagnosed nutritional deficiency in the world.

Prevalent in individuals irrespective of age, gender, race and geography, a study shows that over 70 per cent of Indians suffer from it despite the country’s tropical climate. However, the condition cannot be treated unless proper treatment is administered. Read on to know why

Vitamin D is so important. Why is it important for bones?

Calcium is one of the main building blocks for strong bones and Vitamin D helps the body absorb it. Together with calcium, vitamin D helps keep osteoporosis at bay, protects bone mass, and prevents fractures

Causes of vitamin D deficiency

  • Not spending enough time outdoors, poor exposure to sunlight
  • Vitamin D-rich dietary sources and supplements are not affordable for many
  • Food habits contributing to low dietary calcium and vitamin D intake
  • Unspaced pregnancies cause deficiency in both the mother and baby

symptoms

  • Hair loss, slow healing of wounds, depression, fatigue, low immunity
  • Bone pain in the lower back, hips, pelvis, thighs and feet
  • Frequent occurrence of hairline fractures causing tenderness and pain
  • In rare cases, severe deficiency (osteomalacia) results in extreme pain in the bones

Inbabies

  • Cramps, fits, and respiratory difficulties

In children

  • It can lead to a condition called Rickets, where bones become weak, soft, and deformed (bow legs)
  • Poor growth, tooth delay, irritability, infections, and breathing problems (because of a soft rib cage)

In adults

  • In adults, especially in menopausal women, low levels of vitamin D can increase the risk of osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), making them prone to fractures

diagnosis

  • Vitamin D levels can be diagnosed by a simple blood test
  • In the case of children, a wrist X-ray is done to see how the bones are developing

How much vitamin D to take

Vitamin D is fat-soluble (D2, D3), so the body can store it and should be within the 30-60 ng/mL range

  • Babies from birth to one year old should have a supplement in the form of drops (8.5-10 micrograms/day)
  • A vitamin D supplement of 15 mg (600 IU) is required daily for pregnant/breastfeeding/menopausal women and those over 65
  • Older people will need more, around 800 IU/day

How to get enough vitamin D

  • 20-30 minutes of mid-day sun exposure 2-3 times a
  • In colder months, exposure to UV lamp will do the job
  • Most foods contain very little vitamin D. Eating fortified foods can help. Foods rich in vitamin D are oily fish, egg yolk, orange juice, mushrooms, red meat, liver, cod liver oil
  • Supplements in the form of tablets, powders or liquids. In some severe cases, injections Prognosis
  • Maintenance treatment is important to avoid further deficiency
  • Avoid self-medication as getting too much Vitamin D (Vitamin D toxicity) can be harmful

(Dr Dasaradha Rama Reddy Tetali, senior consultant orthopedic surgeon, Yashoda Hospital, Somajiguda)

Haddi Buddy
Dr Dasaradha Rama Reddy

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