March 05, 2015

Vitamin ‘D’eficiency in women in Maharashtra


Lack of Vitamin D is not just about bones it could lead to much more serious problems if neglected for a long time. 

Vitamin D is something that most of us mix up with Calcium when it comes to food. Human body has the capability to make its own Vitamin D when exposed to proper sunlight. It is essential for your overall health, gives you strong bones, boosts your immunity and makes sure your muscles, brain, lungs and heart are working normally. 

 A B C D of Vitamin D- Fat soluble vitamin, easily dissolved in body fat. Major source is proper and timely exposure to sunlight. It helps your body absorb calcium. Liver and kidney performs the function of conversion of Vitamin D in body after the UV rays are absorbed by skin. 

How do you get this important Vitamin ? A common Myth is that if you stand under the sun, your Vitamin D supply is sorted. Time to get your facts right! Vitamin D in fact, is the vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium better. Deficient people have been shown to absorb only 15-20% of the calcium they consume. So loading your bodies with Calcium supplements won’t help much if you lack in Vitamin D. We, the Humans, need as much as Vitamin D possible because it saves you from rickets, osteoporosis, arthritis etc. Recent studies have also found a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and Type-I diabetes, and cancer. Don’t want to get a fracture every time you fall? Then you’d better build on the Vitamin D intake. 

Who are at most risk ?According to health experts, Women, especially in Maharashtra are shown to have very low Vitamin D levels. You’ll be surprised to know that 7 out of the 10 women that you may have bumped into are low on Vitamin D. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are at higher risk of Vitamin D deficiency who aren't exposed to adequate amount of sunlight. In today’s hustle bustle who has time for some good old sun bathing, or taking a minute’s walk in the morning sunlight? No one. 

We Indians are already at a disadvantage since darker skinned people need to stay in the sunlight longer for Vitamin D to get absorbed. To top that up, the women loathe themselves with sunscreen which may block the minuscule UV rays but also shuts out all the Vitamin D that they need to badly. 

Maharashtra, especially Mumbai is also one of the most polluted areas in the country, making the availability and absorption of the Vitamin D harder. But most of all, it’s the poor lifestyle of the ladies in the state that is to blame. Indoor lives, desk jobs, lethargy are all to blame for the deficiency and the only cure to this growing problem is to get up and get out! Prevention as you know, is better than cure! 

How to know if you have Vitamin D deficiency? Best food sources of Vitamin D are animal based, fish , cod liver oil, egg yolks, cheese, milk and liver. If your daily diet doesn’t include any of the above mentioned sources, for sure you are prone to Vitamin D deficiency. Also people with 30 and above BMI are often found to have Vitamin D deficiency. 

Vitamin D deficiency is not good for your over all health but it doesn’t mean you have to stand whole day under the sun, 365 days with out sunscreen. You must have heard of this phrase “Too much of anything is bad”. Too much Vitamin D can cause vomiting, kidney damage, dehydration and kidney stones. Too much exposure to sun minus the sunscreen leads to skin cancer, sun burn and allergies. 

Vitamin D is available for free! Yes Free! Since that seems to grab everyone’s attention. Timings – 11am to 3pm , two-three times a week just for 15-20 minutes and you are loaded with Vitamin D.Along with natural sources you can also include Vitamin D supplements in your diet. Put that knowledge to good use, remember, your body is your temple.

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