Wonder what’s the thing about the sudden awareness about Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that our body synthesizes on exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D is of a crucial importance in absorption of calcium and phosphorous from the food in the stomach. Vitamin D also aids in re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys. This peculiar process helps in elevating the calcium flow in the bloodstream, which in turn aids in strengthening bones and teeth.
Many people miss out on the benefits of Vitamin D by applying tonnes of sunscreen. Moreover, people living at the poles or higher latitudes also suffer from this serious issue of not getting exposed to enough of Vitamin D.
Furthermore, coloured people are at a substantially higher risk than the light coloured people as their melanin content is significantly higher. More melanin content means less Vitamin D absorption.
Less amount of Vitamin D may lead to Osteoporosis, wherein the bones become brittle and fragile. Apart from the mentioned, Vitamin D deficiency may also lead to other serious diseases like cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Sunlight is undoubtedly the single, biggest source for obtaining Vitamin D, but for the people staying at farther latitudes or in a cold, wintery region, where the exposure to sunlight is not enough to provide the folks with appropriate amounts of Vitamin D, such people are not able to get enough Vitamin D essential for maintain the health of bones and the overall well-being.
To provide such folks with appropriate required amounts of Vitamin D, doctors usually recommend intake of Vitamin D rich foods, such as fatty fish like salmon, Milk, other dairy products which are fortified with Vitamin D, cereals and fruit juices fortified with Vitamin D, eggs, Shiitake mushrooms, ricotta cheese, etc. or sometimes supplements under the medical supervision are prescribed if the vitamin D levels are too less.
The minimum level for vitamin D for healthy functioning of bone and kidney ranges from 20 nanograms per millilitre of blood to 30 nanograms per millilitre among different doctors’ groups. Medical specialists with the Endocrine Society’s study defined 30 ng/mL as “sufficient”. People with levels below 20 ng/mL are considered deficient by all the recent guidelines.
‘The Endocrine Society’ recommends a dose of 600 IU of vitamin D per day for youngsters up to 18 years old who have inadequate levels.
According to Muna Sunni, a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Vitamin D is essential for youth in particular.
“Vitamin D’s role is to help our body suck in as much calcium as it can,” she throws a light on the fact. And young people need that calcium for bone growth until about age 30.
“Once they’re 30, whatever bone strength they have, that’s what they’re stuck with,” Sunni adds. And if the body’s vitamin D levels are too low to take the calcium it needs for cell regulation from food, she says, that calcium is leaked from the bones.
In certain regions, where the sun rays are quite harsh, people always cover themselves or apply sun-screen. You cannot get enough Vitamin D in such cases, but, you can compensate your need for Vitamin D by making it a part of your balanced diet. Ensure to consume foods high in Vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice, fortified cereals, and fish.
It may also be advisable to take a daily Vitamin D supplements under medical supervision. Have a word of advice from your health care provider to see which option is best for you.
You need to get your Vitamin D levels checked. Why? Read on…
You are brown/dark skinned. Presence of a pigment melanin that is responsible for offering a dark tone to skin reduces the skin’s ability to synthesize Vitamin D.
Staying in air-conditioned homes, offices and schools, limits your exposure to sun.
Your diet has been low in fats and dairy for long time or you are vegan.
If you suffer from kidney dysfunction or have a medical issue that affects the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients from the food ingested, then the Vitamin D level becomes questionable.
If you are obese and on a weight loss programme without supplementation, then Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells making you deficient.
Vitamin D rich Foods:
Banking on dairy
b) Fresh milk cream as a side dish, sandwich spread or a dip instead of diet mayonnaise.
c) Including homemade curd, paneer/cottage cheese and butter takes care of daily protein and Vitamin D intake in your diet.
a) Vegetarians should include whole grains, legumes, nuts, nut oils and dry fruits in daily diet.
b) Non-vegetarians have added options of eggs (with yolk), meat, fish and poultry depending on family’s palate.
c) For Vegans – mushrooms like portabello mushrooms, soymilk, nuts, and milk obtained from various nuts (like almonds, cashews), in original form or fortified.
Bliss of fortification
a) If one is on a diet, one must include at least 25-30g of fats (including invisible fat from legumes, nuts and cereals) in daily diet to enable Vitamin D absorption.
b) Lately, all brands of refined oil, cereal, butter, cheese even yogurts have been fortified with Vitamin D to help you meet your daily recommended dosage.
Take supplements if need be- under medical supervision.
After all, “Prevention is better than cure “.
Deficiencies can take away so much from your life, so why not keep them at an arm’s length?
And all you need is to eat right.