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The ‘D’ Factor

According to experts,lack of adequate sunlight exposure due to change in lifestyles is fast becoming a cause for Vitamin D Deficiency

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas |
July 11, 2012 1:28:18 am

According to experts,lack of adequate sunlight exposure due to change in lifestyles is fast becoming a cause for Vitamin D Deficiency

While it is a known fact that the sun is a great source of Vitamin D,which the body utilises as a building block,changes in lifestyle have led to a rise in Vitamin D Deficiency (VDD). Various studies have shown that lack of adequate sunlight exposure owing to urbanisation,sedentary life,religious and cultural factors & fear of tanning are fast becoming reasons for VDD. Vitamin D,unlike any other vitamin is synthesised by the human body following exposure to ultraviolet rays (UV Rays). Hence it is also known as the “Sunshine Vitamin.”

Some of the most frequent symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are mood swings like those in premenstrual period and depression. Lack of this vitamin can also lead to breast,ovarian,bladder or colon cancer,explain nutritionists. Amrita Desai,Clinical Nutritionist at KEM hospital,says,”Women in menopause should be especially aware of the Vitamin D deficiency because at certain age our bodies have difficulties with mobilisation of vitamin D and this can,in turn,lead to osteoporosis.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends an additional supplement of 400 IU of Vitamin D for infants to be continued throughout childhood. Dr. Umesh Vaidya,paediatrician points out that one of the tips generally given to mothers is to expose the baby daily to sunlight preferably after the traditional oil massage.

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There is now a vast body of evidence to suggest VDD as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease,stroke,hypertension,autoimmune diseases,diabetes,depression,chronic pain,osteoarthritis,osteoporosis,myopathies,birth defects,periodontal disease and many more diseases.

The immune system is very sensitive to increased levels of vitamin D by supplementation which helps with general well-being,including alleviating depression. According to the Vitamin D Council,people with low levels of vitamin D are “40 percent more likely to report respiratory infections such as colds and flu.” says Desai. Experts recommend anywhere from 800 to 5,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily. A serving of milk has about 120 IU; a tablespoon of cod liver oil has about 1,360 IU. In comparison,the skin can produce about 10,000 IU of vitamin D after half an hour of full-body exposure to the summer sun,according to the Vitamin D Council.

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First published on: 11-07-2012 at 01:28:18 am

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