Vitamin D testing and the use of vitamin D supplements have increased significantly in recent years. A low vitamin D status is emerging as a very common condition worldwide. For India there was an estimate of 490 million individuals having vitamin D deficiency till 2019. The number would be have increased by now. Most of us do not take this seriously are neither not aware of importance of this vitamin nor updated about increasing deficiency cases in India. Our changing lifestyle is responsible for this.
“THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN” Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” as it is produced in our skin in response to sunlight. It is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. Our body produces vitamin D naturally when it is exposed to sunlight directly.
Increasing Vitamin D Deficiency cases in India: Our current day to day activities have changed so much that hardly we are exposed to sunlight as compared with few years back. Like kids and younger population (especially urban) are going outdoors for playing, less frequently – they are busy playing indoor games/or glued to their mobile sets mostly. On the other hand older population is busy with watching Television mainly. Besides, the online delivery and online transactions/payment practices have restricted the outside movements to a great extent. Ongoing pandemic has done all the more damage to the entire world since outdoor movement is limited (Due to the infection risk), while “work from home” continues for most of the Office goers. These developments attribute largely to lower exposure to sunlight, therefore increasing deficiency cases of Vitamin D, eventually raising the health risks.
Important Functions of Vitamin D This vitamin has a vital role in regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function. For normal growth and development of bones and teeth, in addition to fighting against certain diseases, we require adequate amount of vitamin D and it we do not enough vitamin D, we are at risk of developing bone abnormalities such as soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis).
Vitamin D & Diabetes: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with Diabetes therefore ignoring your vitamin d levels can make you diabetic. Several studies have revealed a higher frequency of vitamin D deficiency in patients with type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D is believed to help improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin – the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar levels – and thus reduce the risk of insulin resistance, which is often a precursor to type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D helps in producing hormones that regulate the blood sugar. So a deficiency can disturb this regulation.
Additional Roles of Vitamin D
Apart from the primary benefits, research suggests that vitamin D may also help in
1. Reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis
2. Lowering chances of Heart Diseases
3. Reduce possibility of developing Flue
4. Regulating mood and controlling Depression
5. Boosting Weight Loss
Natural Vitamin D Sources: Some foods contain vitamin D naturally such as
orange juice (fortified)
Under present scenario keeping Vitamin D under control is an important, inexpensive, and safe adjuvant therapy for many diseases and stages of life, including pregnancy, childhood, and old age. Moving forward, one should regularly get his/her Vitamin D levels checked regularly, and promotional campaigns for public health efforts to prevent severe vitamin D deficiency should be done on a higher priority. In future be alert and get your Vitamin D levels checked in case you detect these symptoms: a) Bone or muscle pain b) Slow healing of wounds c) Depressed mood d) Fatigue and tired. Practically it is difficult to get enough vitamin D every day through sun exposure and food alone, therefore taking vitamin D supplements is essential.