The Financial Express

Coping up with the Vitamin-D deficiency

| Updated: September 01, 2021 11:09:35

Coping up with the Vitamin-D deficiency

Being in the sunlight was already a rarity in city life. But in the continued existence of the pandemic, people are actually forgetting to bathe in the sun.

The human body needs Vitamins to survive and stay healthy. Vitamins help the body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential vitamins. Out of all, Vitamin-D is supposed to be the effortless one as it produces naturally with the contact of sunlight. Other vitamins come mostly from food intakes. 

Our body makes Vitamin-D from direct sunlight on our skin when we are outdoors. Ideally, you should be getting to 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day.

Of course, this should be without sunscreen because once sunscreen is applied to the skin, the body no longer makes Vitamin-D.

However, If you plan to stay in the sun for longer periods, it is wise to use sun protection, such as sunscreen and a hat, to prevent skin cancer.

We also get small amounts of Vitamin-D from eating a small range of foods including oily fish – salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines, red meats and eggs.

During COVID-19, people are strictly being advised to stay at home as much as possible which means being indoors for much of the day. This could mean that you might not be getting enough Vitamin=D from exposure to the sun which leads to Vit-D deficiency.

Vitamin-D helps to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. It also plays an important role in the immune system, which helps our body fight infection.

Vitamin-D deficiency can lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures (broken bones). Severe vitamin D deficiency can also lead to other diseases.

In children, it can cause rickets. Rickets is a rare disease that causes the bones to become soft and bend.

A report published in Clinical Nutrition ESPEN reveals that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with the mortality rate of COVID-19 in Europe and Asia. The association between the infection rate and prevalence of Vitamin-D deficiency is significant for Asia only.

Lack of Vitamin-D is not quite as obvious in adults. Signs and symptoms might include fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, muscle aches, or muscle cramps, etc. Frequent mood changes, depression, are also notable symptoms of Vit-D deficiency.

The normal Vitamin-D range is 30ng/ml or above. Sufficient level is between 30-50 ng/ml in healthy adults. Deficiency is when it becomes 0-20ng/ml. So when it comes to the deficient level, one should undergo treatments.

The goals of treatment and prevention are the same— to reach, and then maintain, an adequate level of Vitamin-D in the body. You can consider eating more foods that contain Vitamin-D and getting a little bit of sunlight in this regard.

Taking Vitamin-D supplements is also a good option but it has to be prescribed by a pharmacist or doctor.

“A lot of people take Vit-D supplement without prescription like it’s a candy. At the beginning of lockdown, I have seen people overdosing on Vit-D to get immunity against Corona. This is total idiocy. It results in Vit-D toxicity which is no less severe than deficiency,” says Samiha Ishrat Tushin, a practising doctor at Ibn Sina Medical College Hospital.

Dr Samiha also recommends indoor exercises which help strengthen muscles and bone. “Introducing fish oil in the diet chart and being constant with milk and egg yolk is also beneficial.”

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