Post lockdown Vitamin D deficiency – Let`s beat it this summer, naturally!

By Dr.Arjun.M.B

Following the devastating COVID-19 Pandemic, our world has seen a significant shift in disease patterns. While Infectious diseases are on the rise, non-infectious lifestyle disorders continue to have a substantial impact on quality of life. The periodic on and off lockdown since 2020, has made people more prone to Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of adequate exposure to sunlight.

What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency ?

The symptoms of vitamin D insufficiency can be ambiguous, making it difficult for patients to explain. Some of the most common symptoms include, Fatigability, Bone pains, Muscle pains, Muscle soreness, hair loss, poor wound healing,loss of libido.

Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly being identified as a cause of Depression & anxiety disorders in millenial population who mostly have a sedentary lifestyle.

Vitamin D deficiency contrbutes to the development of Osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures especially in post menopausal women. Vitamin D levels are also linked to Sleep disorders and it significantly impairs the quality of sleep.

Studies suggest a strong association of vitamin D levels with Diabetes control, development of Multiple Sclerosis, severity of parkinson`s disease and innumerable chronic diseases.

All the above points make it a topic of interest to improve our quality of life.

Is it Safe to take Vitamin D supplements prophylactically ?

No. There have been several Case reports of Vitamin D toxicity resulting from non prescribed, Over the counter use of Vitamin-D . Vitamin D toxicity can have serious health consequences including, nausea,vomiting, high calcium in blood (hypercalcemia) and a life threatening condition called “Pseudotumor cerebri-mimicking Brain tumor” by increasing intracranial pressure. Hence it is always prudent to get your Vitamin D levels checked before starting Vitamin D supplements.

How to increase Vitamin D levels ?

SUN LIGHT is the best possible source of Vitamin D . Now that Summer is here, Adequate exposure to sunlight could increase your vitamin D levels significantly.The sun is at its greatest point at noon, when UVB rays are at their strongest. That implies you’ll need to spend less time in the sun to get enough vitamin D. The best time, according to most research, is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Numerous studies have also revealed that the body produces the maximum vitamin D at midday. In the United Kingdom, 13 minutes of noon sunshine exposure three times per week throughout the summer is sufficient to keep Caucasian adults at healthy levels.

According to another study, 30 minutes of midday summer sun exposure was equivalent to consuming 10,000–20,000 IU of vitamin D. (Vitamin D is usually taken in 600 IUdoses per day).

Not only is it more efficient to get vitamin D around noon, but it may also be safer than getting sun later in the day. Afternoon sun exposure has been linked to an increased risk of severe skin malignancies, according to one study.

What Foods Can Improve Vitamin D Levels ?

Although Dietary vitamin D supplementation may not be sufficient in most circumstances, below are some of the most commonly consumed foods that are high in vitamin D.

Vegetarian – Mushrooms (2300 IU), Orange (100IU), Spinach (250IU)

Non vegetarian – Salmon (988IU) , Tuna (268IU), Cod liver oil (450IU), Oysters (268IU), Egg yolk (18IU)

Now that the Pandemic is slightly under control and summer has arrived, it’s time to get off our roofs and spend a few minutes in the sun every day. This summer Let us all pledge to improve the quality of life by increasing our vitamin D levels naturally.

(The author is Consultant- Internal Medicine, Manipal Hospital, Dodaballapur. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the

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