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You must have heard a lot of chatter about vitamin D around the monsoon season. Turns out, there is a logic to it being brought up more often! Basically, the sun plays hide and seek in most parts of the country, cutting down on our daily dose of vitamin D nutrient.
But, why is everybody going gaga about this vitamin?
Well, for a lot of reasons. Firstly, a study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Family Care in 2018 has clearly stated that vitamin D deficiency has an 80 to 90% prevalence in all age groups in India, and can cause everything from autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular diseases to cancer and tuberculosis. Hence, it is clear that we need to keep vitamin D levels up to keep ourselves healthy.
Vitamin D deficiency can make a covid-19 infection all the more severe, according to a study published in the journal of Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection. These are the reasons why vitamin D is becoming a buzz word in the nutrition business.
Now let’s look at what causes vitamin D deficiency
Well, an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle are two of the main contributing factors. But according to Dr Rakesh Nair, an orthopaedic surgeon at Zen Super Specialty Hospital, Mumbai, the major reason behind vitamin D deficiency is lack of exposure to the sun.
He says, “We spend most of our time indoors, be it in the office or home. Even when we go out, it is mostly in the evening when there is no sun. This leads to vitamin D deficiency. Basically, sunlight helps in activating the process of the absorption of vitamin D and that’s why you need it every day.”
He added, “People ask me a lot about what is the ideal time to go out in the sun. My simple reply to everyone is that you can expose yourself to the sun at any time of the day. People who have a dusky skin tone need to keep in mind that melanin in the skin acts as a barrier to sunlight.”
The sad part, according to Dr Nair, is that his young patients who are between the age group of 20 to 25 years are coming to him with the issue of body ache and it is all because of the deficiency of vitamin D.
That’s why it becomes all the more important to know the signs of vitamin D deficiency so that you can treat it before it’s too late.
Here are five alarming signs of vitamin D deficiency:
1. Slow recovery from an injury
According to Dr Nair, this happens with the youngsters when they start hitting the gym. Exercising causes wear and tear of muscles, which is important for a toned body, but if you lack vitamin D then the whole recovery process slows down and delays the results you’re working out so hard for.
Dr Nair says, “There is an inadequate response to recovery and this majorly happens due to vitamin-deficient diet. Around 80 to 90% of patients have this deficiency. In the elderly, the recovery takes time simply because they probably didn’t consume vitamin D rich food when they were younger. I would advise people to fill themselves with vitamin D before hitting the gym. Also, getting a test done is also recommended to know how deficient you are.”
2. Weak muscles and soreness
“See, the thing is a vitamin D deficiency takes the entire recovery process for a toss. Nowadays, we sit for long hours due to our work. The movement is less and on top of it, we don’t consume the required amount of vitamin D. It becomes all the more painful. Most of the people with backaches will find themselves vitamin D deficient,” he says.
3. Slow healing of wounds
According to Dr Nair, your overall healing process takes a hit due to vitamin D deficiency and it will also have a negative effect on the healing of wounds.
4. Hair loss
If you are experiencing major hair loss, it could be because of a vitamin D deficiency because it causes alopecia – both in men and women, according to a study published in International Journal of Molecular Sciences. According to the study, a lack of vitamin D leads to the loss of the serum that helps in reducing hair fall.
If you have tried everything for your hair to not fall off your scalp but nothing has worked, then it’s time to stand under the sun for some vitamin D.
5. Shortness of breath
Not just coronavirus but even a lack of vitamin D can also lead to other respiratory ailments. It makes you more prone to respiratory allergies and causes irritation in the respiratory tract. During the monsoon season, due to the presence of pollen, fungal and other bacteria in the air, there are more chances of you suffering from allergies, says a study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology.
If your body lacks vitamin D, you won’t be able to fight back infections
“Diet is a must and exposure to the sun is your saviour. There are a lot of supplements that are available in the market for vitamin D but if you just eat egg yolk, fish (mackerel or sardine), and cheese, you’ll be on the safe side. Plus, just having milk is not going to help. So, eat these three and you are sorted with vitamin D,” he concluded.
So, ladies, now you know how important the vitamin is and where to find it!