Vitamin D Deficiency : Dr. Pallavi Vaishya

Q. Are Indian women deficient in Vitamin D? Can I get some statistics to show the amount of deficiency?
Ans. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is created in the body with sunlight exposure. Its major function is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which keeps the bones strong
Vitamin deficiencies usually develop slowly over several months to years. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency are usually vague muscle/joint pain, weakness, bone pain, tiredness, fatigue or even depression. Nowadays it is observed that people who are deficient in Vitamin D are more likely to have diabetes, regardless of how much they weigh. Early diagnosis and treatment can help control the symptoms and prevent health related problems
Q. How does the deficiency affect a woman’s health and longevity? Does she face any particular problems especially during and after childbirth due to the same?
Ans. Vitamin D deficiency is common during pregnancy. Inadequate vitamin D can lead to abnormal bone growth, fractures, or rickets in newborns.Vitamin D deficiency to a higher risk of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm birth, and low birth weight.The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can be subtle. They may include achy muscles, weakness, bone pain, and softened bones, which may lead to fractures.
Q. What can be done to prevent this deficiency from affecting women?
Ans. Factors that might put you at risk for a vitamin D deficiency include:
Obesity. Because body fat stores much of the vitamin D made in the skin, it’s less available to the body. (Vitamin D that you get from food and supplements appears to be more available to the body, so those are more reliable sources.)
Darker skin. People with darker skin have a lot of melanin, which acts as a natural sunscreen and reduces production of vitamin D in the skin.
Certain medications. Medications such as steroids, antiseizure medications, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and some diuretics reduce absorption of vitamin D from the intestines.
Q. What can be done to cure this deficiency?
Ans. Vitamin D is found primarily in animal products such as dairy foods, liver, eggs, fish and fish oils, diet alone cannot provide an adequate amount of vitamin D. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate it.”
Q. How badly are young children (below teenage) affected by Vitamin D deficiency?
Ans. Inadequate supply Vitamin D from sunlight, diet or both is the most common cause of rickets, nutritional deficiencies of calcium and/or phosphate, genetic or acquired disorders of the gut, liver, kidney and metabolism can also lead to rickets.Rickets is a disorder of mineralisation of the bone matrix (osteoid) in growing bone, involving both the growth plate (epiphysis) and newly formed cortical and trabecular bone.

Dr. Pallavi Vaishya
Senior Nutrition Consulant,
Kailash Hospital

Vinod Kumar

Health Journalist & writer. Editor of monthly health magazine "Health Spectrum."

Leave a Reply