Vitamin D has been a vitamin which has gained utmost importance in research as well as in day to day life. Vitamin D is also known as “sunshine vitamin” as sunlight helps to synthesize this hormone. There was a time when mother used to tell me that they would not waste sunshine and they spent a lot of time outdoors. But now we have moved on to indoor video games, play stations,work in air conditioned offices and also work out in indoor gyms. We also can blame the pollution and lack of outdoor places to exercise. This deficiency is now seen in all age groups while previously it was limited to post menopausal women only
There was a time when mother used to tell me that they would not waste sunshine and they spent a lot of time outdoors.
Causes for Vitamin D deficiency
- Less or no exposure to sunlight
- Poor intake of vitamin D rich food
- Excessive use of sunscreen
- Following fad diets with zero oil intake
- Minimal exposure of skin to sunlight such as wearing full sleeves, covering oneself in totality.
- Staying indoors all the time in airconditioned offices; offices executives, software engineers, night duty workers
- Darker skin
- Chronic illness where one is bedridden
Consequences of Vitamin D deficiency
- Poor bone health with conditions such as osteopenia and osteoporosis
- Increased risks of fractures in post menopausal women
- Poor teeth health
- Poor calcium absorption due lack of the precursor ie. sunlight
- Weight gain; Studies have shown calcium and vitamin D deficiency can cause weight gain.
- Poor insulin secretion, hence can be prone to develop diabetes
- Poor immunity
- Increased cancer risk
- Increased risk of Alzhiemers and Rheumatoid arthritis
- Increased blood pressure and many more
How can you prevent Vitamin D deficiency
Our requirements are about 600-1000 IU/day. Now before you get up and run to the nearest pharmacy to pick up supplements, firstly add Vitamin D to your diet with naturally as well as fortified food sources.
- Sources are Milk and all other milk products, Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna are naturally rich in D. Other foods are fortified with Vitamin D such as orange juice, soy milk, butter substitutes, oils and some yogurts and cereals, egg yolk, organ meats etc
- Spend atleast 15-20 minutes in the sunlight without sunscreen. preferable opt to stay out before 9 am and after 3 pm to avoid UV radiation which can damage skin. I meet my Vitamin D requirements by swimming in the morning.
- Supplement only under a physicians guidance as there can be chances of hypervitaminosis and toxicity.
Feeling cranky? Get outdoors and this will definitely lift your mood and get a good dose of this feel good vitamin and make your immunity stronger, healthier bones and a stronger you.