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Here’s why vitamin D is important and how to keep its level up during lockdown

Published on:21 May 2020, 11:43am IST
Vitamin D, produced by our exposure to sunlight is critical to strengthening our bones and boosting our overall immunity levels.
Grace Bains
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Covid-19 might be confining you to your home but here’s how you can raise the vitamin D levels! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Discovered in 1920 by Sir Edward Mellanby, vitamin D was originally pegged as a cure for infamous rickets which is a childhood bone disease. Over the course of time, extensive research has been conducted on the said vitamin, and now, we know that it plays a pivotal role in keeping our bones strong by facilitating the absorption of calcium in our body, countering anxiety as well as depression and boosting our overall immunity.

In fact, a research team led by Northwestern University studied data from 10 countries and found a strong correlation between the low levels of vitamin D and a higher chance of death amongst coronavirus patients.

So, obviously, this is one of the most important vitamins whose levels need to be kept in check.

As some of us might already be aware, the natural source for vitamin D is sunlight exposure. But thanks to the lockdown imposed as a result of the COVID19 outbreak, our sunlight exposure has reduced to a range between nil to a minimum. Hence, the natural generation of this sunshine vitamin has been impacted adversely due to our limited exposure to the sun.

foods to boost immunity
The relationship between vitamin D and covid-19 is quite surprising. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What could a low level of vitamin D mean for our health?
A deficiency of vitamin D in our bodies can make our bones weak and lead to bone deformities. In children, the deficiency can lead to rickets, and in adults, it can lead to osteomalacia which causes bone pain and tenderness. 

It may also lead to depression. A study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry noted that people with a lower level of vitamin D were more susceptible to depression.

Apart from these diseases, a person who is suffering from a vitamin D deficiency will notice that they’re feeling lethargic, catching infections too frequently, losing hair, and experiencing muscle pain.

Keeping vitamin D levels up
Considering that stepping out of our homes may not be a viable and available option currently due to the lockdown, besides the fact that not everyone amongst us may have access to verandas and terraces to bask in the sunlight, we need to resort to other means to obtain the much-needed dosage of vitamin D. A few means to keep the sunshine vitamin’s level up are:

  • The food we eat
    Vitamin D is naturally found in a number of food items such as salmon fish, yoghurt, low-fat milk, mushrooms, orange juice, cod liver oil, and eggs. We could also supplement our overall bone strength by adding calcium-rich foods such as leafy vegetables, tofu, and dairy products to our diet, over and above vitamin D rich foods.
Vitamin D
Vitamin D rich food is all you need for better health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • The lifestyle we lead
    Effective metabolization (process for creating energy in our body) of vitamin D requires us to refrain from activities such as smoking and drinking.

Moreover, exercising often has a significant impact on vitamin D production in our bodies.

Our suggestion is that you make sure you spend some twenty to thirty minutes near a window, in your balcony or the terrace to make sure you can reap the benefits of some sunshine even in the middle of this lockdown.

  • The adequate dosage
    Sufficient intake of vitamin D is critical considering the lack of sunlight exposure. Therefore, while you may consider incorporating certain foods in your diet, an increase in levels of vitamin D could lead to hypercalcemia, a build-up of calcium in the blood, which could lead to complications for the heart and kidneys. Hence, eating in moderation and incorporating vitamin D and calcium-rich foods in our diet is our best foot forward.
vitamin D covid-19
It’s time to understand the importance of the sunshine vitamin in your life. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

So, you see, vitamin D is quite important and with just a little change to our lifestyle as well as eating habits, we can make sure that we’re not missing out on it even though the lockdown stops us from stepping into the sunlight for a long enough period of time.

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Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.