Vitamin D Deficiency: All You Need To Know

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for human health. 

Vitamin D insufficiency is common all over the world. Apart from the well-known skeletal problems, this deficiency has several factors that cause new implications. 

To evaluate the existing literature on Vitamin D status in India, a study found that the prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in India ranged from 40% to 99%, with most studies finding a frequency of 80%–90%.

It was seen in all age categories, as well as high-risk populations. 

With the effects of Vitamin D shortage being researched, such as autoimmune illnesses, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and tuberculosis, we can imagine its burden on our country. 

The importance of Vitamin D and the repercussions of insufficiency must be made known to the general population and healthcare providers.

The importance of Vitamin D and the repercussions of insufficiency must be made known to the general population and healthcare providers. 

On average, our Indian cuisine falls short of a normal adult’s daily Vitamin D requirement. 

This emphasizes the importance of vitamin D fortification of diverse foods through national programs. 

This silent epidemic needs to be addressed with strong public health measures!

Finding The Depth Of The Issue 

Vitamin D deficiency affects about 40% of Indians. This may come as a surprise, given that most sections of the country receive plenty of sunlight all year.

Sunlight exposure causes the body to produce vitamin D, popularly known as the sunshine vitamin. 

Its fundamental job is to regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood at normal levels, maintaining bones strong. 

According to experts, one of the biggest causes of vitamin D insufficiency is our modern lifestyle!

Vitamin D Deficiency Causes

  • Indoor Activities

Working from dawn to dusk in air-conditioned offices and spending time indoors appears to have depleted the body’s supply of vitamin D. 

No one, from professionals to students to homemakers, gets enough sunlight, which is why vitamin D insufficiency is so common today.

  • Sun Avoidance

People avoid going out in the sun because they are afraid of becoming sunburned. 

Those who spend a lot of time indoors or cover their bodies when they go outside are the ones who are most likely to be deficient. 

Glass windows don’t help either, so you don’t get enough vitamin D while driving or at home.

  • Vegetarian Diet

If you consume a primarily vegetarian diet, your body may be deficient in vitamin D. 

Animal products, such as dairy meals, liver, eggs, fish, and fish oils, are high in vitamin D. 

Experts point out that diet alone will not offer enough vitamin D. The only surefire method to get it is to expose yourself to sunlight.

  • Skin Colour Of Indians:

Melanin inhibits the production of vitamin D by the skin. 

To produce the same quantity of vitamin D, those with dark skin pigmentation may need 20-30 times more exposure to sunlight than people with fair skin.

  • Sunscreen Application:

Sunscreen creams block the sun’s rays and hinder the production of vitamin D. 

Sunscreen use, especially if high sun protection factor (SPF) creams (factor 15 or above) are used, can lead to vitamin D insufficiency. 

However, don’t completely abandon sunscreen because humans, particularly youngsters, also require protection from the sun’s damaging rays, especially during the noon hours.

  • Obesity 

Being overweight exacerbates the issue. 

Fat cells take vitamin D from the blood, changing its release in the body. 

Vitamin D levels in the blood are frequently low in those with a BMI of 30 or higher.

Vitamin D Deficiency’s Consequences

  • Weakness Of Muscles And Bones:

Vitamin D deficiency affects muscles and bones more quickly because it promotes magnesium deficiency, another essential nutrient that keeps you strong and healthy.

  • Depressed Mood

Irritability, melancholy, and rapid mood changes have all been related to low amounts of this vital mineral.

Because vitamin D is involved in the separation of happiness hormones, its lack impacts mental health.

  • Inflammation And Pain

Like many other critical nutrients, Vitamin D helps the body combat inflammatory processes, preventing problems like soreness and joint damage.

Low numbers raise the chance of developing such diseases, making it more challenging to manage chronic pain.

  • Dental Issues

A lack of vitamin D interferes with calcium absorption and utilization in the teeth, increasing the risk of infection, tooth loss, and inflammatory signs such as redness, inflammation, and bleeding gums.

  • High Blood Pressure (BP)

If your blood pressure rises, you should expect deficient symptoms to follow.

Although various factors cause cardiovascular disease, a lack of vitamin D can lead to problems.

  • Fatigue Sensation

Vitamin D absorption is insufficient in the body.

It affects physical and mental performance and creates a severe sense of exhaustion in those who are affected. Frequently, the person is exhausted and finds it difficult to do everyday duties.

  • Increased Body Mass Index (BMI)

You must get vitamin D because it is one of the most fat-soluble nutrients. Obese and overweight individuals consume more calories. 

Their low amounts exacerbate metabolic activity and, as a result, make it harder to recover a healthy weight.

  • Asthma 

Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with problems managing asthma, as it has been connected to reducing lung function.

Its ingestion aids in the management of this respiratory condition by inhibiting the production of proteins that cause inflammation in the lungs’ tissues.

  • Cholesterol 

There is a link between removing bad cholesterol (LDL) that builds up in the blood and the actions of this vitamin in the body.

A person who does not get enough vitamin D is more likely to get sick from the effects of high cholesterol.

  • Colds and Flu

Low vitamin D levels influence the immune system’s synthesis of antibodies, making flu and cold symptoms more likely to recur.

The aggravating element in these cases is that the respiratory tracts and ducts are more easily inflamed as a result of their failure. Cough your way through this onion and garlic-based natural drink fight.

  • Bowel Issues

Fat absorption issues are linked to vitamin D insufficiency, which influences the development of intestinal problems. 

It is critical to optimize their absorption in Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.

  • Excessive Sweating 

Excessive perspiration might be a marker of inadequate absorption of this vitamin and hormonal changes. Excessive sweating, especially on the head, is a common occurrence.

What Can Be Done About It? 

Make sure you get enough sunlight!

Twenty minutes of good exposure, two to three times a week, with bare arms and face is enough to maintain appropriate vitamin D levels throughout the year. 

But don’t overdo it! The sun’s rays can also cause sunburn, so don’t expose yourself to it for long periods. 

A healthy diet and regular physical activity are essential. 

Vitamin D and calcium-rich meals should be consumed. 

Include salmon, sardines, eggs, and meat in your diet, as well as breakfast cereals, soy products, dairy products, and low-fat spreads. 

The Indian Council of Medical Research suggests outdoor physical activity and weight control achieve optimal vitamin D levels. 

This is true for people of all ages!

Vitamin D foods

The Takeaway

Remember that in this scenario, prudence is crucial because extended and unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays has negative consequences. 

Before you leave, don’t forget to note how vitamin D deficiency affects your body? Have you run out of energy? 

It’s crucial to note that all vitamins are necessary for the body’s optimal functioning.