London: For a country that gets so much sun, it’s pretty unbelievable that so many Pakistanis are vitamin-D deficient. The first thing you need to know about Vitamin-D is that it’s not really a vitamin at all! It’s, in fact, more of a ‘sun hormone’ that is produced naturally in the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Food and sunlight (ultra-violet rays to be exact) are the best sources of vitamin D. In the case of a vitamin D deficiency, the absorption of calcium and phosphorous is reduced, which can adversely affect the strength of teeth and bones. This can lead to conditions such as rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis.
Vitamin D and Calcium Deficiency Causes
Since Vitamin D also aids in reducing cancer cell growth, controlling infections, blood pressure, and artery damage, a deficiency can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, and cancer. A very common symptom is depression, fatigue, and being more asthma-prone.
While a deficiency could be a result of insufficient exposure to the sun due to excessive sunblock, an indoor lifestyle or simply wearing the wrong kind of fabric, doctors have also pointed out that in some cases, vitamin D may not be efficiently synthesizing in the body.
Get checked: If you have a concentration of vitamin D that is less than 20 nanograms per milliliter, you need to scale up your vitamin D intake. Get a check-up, and embark on a deficiency defeating the regime.
Fun in the sun: take some time out of your busy schedule to sit under the sun — preferably between 10 am to 3 pm. Twenty minutes of sun-bathing every day would suffice.
Drink the D: Not keen on sun-bathing? Opt for a glass of vitamin-D fortified milk instead — twice a day. Vitamin D fortified cereals and soy milk could be an option for those who are lactose intolerant, but the fortification of vitamin D milk (regular or soy) is the best guarantee for the intake.