A SILENT WHITE-COLLAR DISEASE

This article is to highlight a condition which is becoming more prevalent among professionals. There are enough and more evidence to show that stress, sedentary lifestyle, irregular dietary habits and lack of sleep among professional’s leads to variety of ailments like obesity, heart disease and diabetes. But unlike these conditions which many people are aware of Vitamin D deficiency is a silent problem affecting plenty of white-collar individuals.

What is Vitamin D?

 Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is available to the body in two forms; one is through diet and the other through adequate sunlight (UVB) exposure where the skin synthesizes the vitamin. Vitamin D is found in very small amount in food items like fatty fish, liver, egg yolk and fortified food. This is one reason why milk is fortified with Vitamin D abroad, but in India routine milk is not fortified, only expensive carton milk is fortified. Food contributes only 10-15% of Vitamin D requirement. This leaves with more than 80% contribution which comes from sunlight exposure. It is recommended that 20- 40 minutes of midday sunlight exposure without sunscreen provides more than the required amount of Vitamin D for the body. This brings us to the question, how many of us are exposed to midday sun daily. Vitamin D deficiency is common in the west and uncommon in India because of more than adequate sunlight here. There are plenty of research papers in the literature reporting poor vitamin D levels in study population from all over India.

What benefits does it have?

 It is essential for the absorption of calcium from the gut and lack of it leads to Osteomalacia (soft bones). So the lack of Vitamin D can lead to even spontaneous fractures when the levels get very low. The initial symptoms are generalized muscle pain and weakness. Research has also shown that it is effective for an array of conditions like prevention of cancer, respiratory infection and tooth loss in elderly; it also helps for weight loss. Study shows people with low Vitamin D level may develop type 2 diabetes and it also helps in significantly increasing HDL (good cholesterol). There is a lot of research going on to find out a number of beneficial effects of Vitamin D.

So considering its benefits, its deficiency can be easily prevented by just taking diet rich in vitamin D along with adequate sunlight exposure, the skin is a powerhouse of Vitamin D production, just a week’s exposure to sun can replenish enough Vitamin D to compensate for almost one and a half months of no exposure to sun . So if you have any of the fore-mentioned symptoms or you are not adequately exposed to sunlight. Kindly get your Vitamin D levels checked cause it is a silent condition affecting people with little or no sunlight exposure and the deficiency can be treated very easily with supplementation.