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Vitamin D: The Easily Available Sunshine Vitamin

Dr. I. P. S. Kochar 90% (19 ratings)
MAMC, MRCPCH, MD - Paediatrics, MBBS
Pediatrician, Noida  •  37 years experience
Vitamin D: The Easily Available Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D is a group of fat soluble nutrient that is an incredibly vital necessity for your body’s proper growth as it helps in the absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphate and for multiple other biological reactions of our body.

Now the major issue about Vitamin D is that our dietary sources are inefficient to fulfil the Vitamin D requirements of our body since foods do not contain much of it. Sunlight is the only major natural source of Vitamin D for a human being. Our skin synthesizes the vitamin through complex organic reactions with the help of the UVB radiation of the sunlight.

How is Vitamin D deficiency harmful to your body?
The most important function of Vitamin D is to help the body absorb various other nutrients from our diet and incorporate it into our bones and other necessary parts. Thus, due to Vitamin D deficiency bones become weak, soft and brittle, and results in conditions such as Rickets and Osteomalacia. Recent researches have shown that Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to prostate, breast and colon cancer. Reducing the inorganic mineral content of our body Vitamin D deficiency takes a severe toll on the body from childhood.

How to combat the deficiency among Indians?
Vitamin D deficiency is now an epidemic in the South Asian countries, and India is no exception. About 65-70% Indians are vitamin D deficient despite the abundant sunlight they receive. It is essential to understand the contributing factors that lead to this situation to remedy the problem.

The first and primary issue is that Indians are reluctant to go out into the sun. From households to professionals, everyone prefers to stay away from the only major source of Vitamin D, and even when they go out, they cover up themselves. Lack of knowledge and fear of getting their skin tone darker seem to be some of the nastiest causes that keep the everyone under the shade. Along with these problems, use of sunscreens and completely vegetarian diets are also responsible for the epidemic.

Melanin composition
A majority of Indians have a darker skin tone, which means the melanin content of their skin is comparatively much higher. Melanin prevents the formation of Vitamin D from sunlight. As a result, the Indians need much-extended exposure to sunlight which they do not get.

Obesity in Indians is another primary issue that causes the excess fat in the body to soak up the necessary Vitamin D of the body, causing its deficiency.

Learning from the stated causes we see that the only ways to prevent this disease are, much more exposure to sunlight, consuming Vitamin D rich diets and obviously fighting obesity. In cases where the deficiency is observed doctors would prescribe supplements to ensure proper functioning of the body. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Pediatrician.

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