Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient, which is known to have potent effects on our body. For a country like India, which is gifted with plentiful sunlight, it was surprising to find that around 70 to 90 percent of the population is suffering from vitamin D deficiency. As per the findings of a new study, researchers found that majority of Indians are Vitamin D deficient and this condition was significantly associated with people suffering from Type-2 diabetes and hypertension.
This finding by P.G. Talwalkar, Diabetologist at Shushrusha Hospital in Mumbai, further confirms that Vitamin D deficiency leads to chronic diseases. "Pregnant women in India have up to 84 percent prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency, which also correlates with the level of Vitamin D deficiency in their newborns," said Srirupa Das, Medical Director, Abbott India, Mumbai. "In adults, Vitamin D deficiency is associated with low bone mass and muscle weakness, which results in increased risk of fractures and bone disorders such as osteoporosis," Das said.
The research was conducted on 1,508 individuals. As per the researchers, in Mumbai there is 88 percent prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in urban adults. They also revealed that 84.2 percent of Type-2 diabetes patients were Vitamin D deficient, as were 82.6 percent of hypertension patients.
"Our study also investigated co-occurrence of deficiency with hypothyroidism and obesity or overweight condition. A majority (76 per cent) of hypothyroid patients had low levels of vitamin D. Moreover, 82 per cent of patients were obese, indicating that there may be a link between the deficiency, its comorbidities and body weight," said Talwalkar.
"These findings highlight the need for routine screening to ensure early diagnosis and effective management of Vitamin D deficiency to help reduce the burden and risks associated with non-communicable disease," Talwalkar added.
There are various causes of Vitamin D deficiency in India. Most people do not receive adequate exposure to sunlight, as urban and sedentary lifestyles have resulted in less time spent outdoors for work or leisure. High levels of air pollution are also one of the reasons of Vitamin D deficiency in people.
Eat These Healthy Vitamin D-Rich Foods
Dairy products like milk and eggs are rich in Vitamin D. To overcome deficiency of this nutrient, eat the following foods regularly.
Vitamin D is important for strong and healthy bones and can help prevent a number of diseases. Vitamin D levels in your body can be checked with a blood test. Vitamin D deficiency is common in Indian so your doctor might ask for a test if you are at risk, or as part of a general check-up.
What is being tested?
Your skin makes vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight.You can also get vitamin D from food or supplements. The liver changes the vitamin D from your skin or food into a storage form called 25-hydroxy-vitamin D. It is this form that is usually measured in the vitamin D test. Other forms of vitamin D can also be measured, depending on your specific circumstances.
Why would you need this test?
Your doctor might ask you to have this test if you are at risk of being vitamin D deficient. You might also need it if you have:
1) Abnormal levels of minerals such as calcium, phosphate or magnesium in your blood
2) bone problems
3) Diseases that might result in, or be caused by, too much or too little vitamin D
4) Problems with your parathyroid gland
5) How to prepare for this test
6) No special preparation is required.
Understanding your results
You will need to discuss with your doctor what the results mean for you. Generally, a low level of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D may mean you are not getting enough vitamin D from sunlight or from food. It could also indicate problems with vitamin D absorption from your intestines, or that your liver is not making enough of this type of vitamin D. A high level of vitamin D usually comes from taking too much in, either from pills or in food. Abnormal levels of a type of vitamin D produced in the kidney (1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D) can be a sign of kidney problems or a range of other conditions.
How many of us know that a deficiency of Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine can make you susceptible for heart disease, brain degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as muscle pain, depression and dragging fatigue?
Vitamin B6 is one of the most crucial vitamins for health and it’s a part of the vitamin B complex family. Now, all B vitamins, including vitamin B6, play an important role in a number of life-altering physical and psychological functions. All of them have a vital role to play in helping to maintain a healthy metabolism, nerve and liver function as well as skin and eye health, as well as good amount of energy levels.
Role of Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine has a number of derivatives, including pyridoxal, pyridoxal 5-phosphate and pyridoxamine. And all of these are involved in major body functions like movement, memory, energy use and blood flow. This is the primary reason why a vitamin B6 deficiency can show up in a range of symptoms from physical to psychological, temporary to chronic and serious.
Vitamin B6 also helps your body to
Maintain a healthy nervous system
To make more hemoglobin, blood cells that carry oxygen in blood
To provide energy from our food
To balance blood sugar levels
To act as a natural pain relief
To boost mood
To create antibodies for self-protection
Preventing a Vitamin B6 Deficiency
The recommended amount of vitamin B6 for an adult under the age of 50 is 1.3 milligrams. Normally, this amount is easy to get from your diet, assuming you are eating a balanced diet with enough calories. However, the amount the body’s requirement for vitamin B6 jumps up as you age. Experts recommend that adults over 50 get up to 1.7 milligram daily of this vitamin.
As this requirement is not met, older people get more prone to a vitamin B6 deficiency and so do malnourished children and adults. Foods like poultry, pork, nuts and beans contain high levels of vitamin B6 and you can include more of these to get the recommended dose of vitamin B6. However, since vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin, so you need to replenish your body with it daily as it doesn’t get stored in the body.
Symptoms of Vitamin B6 deficiency:
Lack of energy and chronic fatigue: Vitamin B6 helps supply your body with energy by improving your metabolism. It has a vital role to play in protein metabolism – it helps your body break down the protein that you eat and produce energy quickly. So one very important pointer that you have a vitamin B6 deficiency is when you get fatigued quickly during exercise.
Brain function decline: Vitamin B6 vitamin helps your brain communicate with other parts of the body more efficiently. So, if you have a decline in muscle efficiency it could be a sign of vitamin B6 deficiency.
High Levels of amino acid Homocysteine: High levels of amino acid
Homocysteine do not cause any symptoms that you can detect by yourself but tests can tell you if you have high levels of this amino acid in your body. And these high levels are directly linked to vitamin B6 deficiency. What high levels of homocysteine can do is cause heart attacks. But vitamin B6 helps keep a check on these levels to reduce your risk for a cardiovascular event.
Other symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency are:
Changes in mood, such as depression, irritability, and anxiety
A worsening of PMS symptoms
And worsening of symptoms of anemia
As vitamin B6 is so important for nerve function, a deficiency is linked with neuro-psychiatric disorders like seizures, migraines, and chronic pain.
An increased risk of heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis
Higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Are you aware of the importance of vitamin D in your body, and why you should keep away from vitamin D deficiency? Vitamin D, referred to as the sunshine vitamin, is produced by your body in response to your skin’s exposure to sunlight. It is found naturally in certain food items such as egg yolks, fish liver oils, and fish. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones as it helps your body in using calcium from your diet.
Causes of vitamin D Deficiency
There are various reasons that lead to vitamin D deficiency. The most common ones are as follows:
1. It happens when you are a vegan and do not consume any animal-based products, as it is common in foods like fish, egg yolks, beef liver, and fortified milk.
2. You have limited exposure to sunlight, in such a case your body fails to make required vitamin D
3. If you spend a lot of time indoors or live in the northern latitudes, or wear robes and covering as part of religious requirements, you may become vitamin D deficient.
4. In case you have dark skin, as a pigment known as melanin reduces your skin’s ability to make vitamin D based on your exposure to sunlight.
5. Aged adults having a dark skin tone are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
1. The primary symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include muscle weakness and pain in the bones.
2. In some people, the symptoms are not prominent.
##Management of vitamin D deficiency##
1. The treatment of vitamin D deficiency aims at getting more vitamin D via diet and health supplements.
2. Usually, there is no consensus about vitamin D levels that are required for optimal health, and it depends on a person’s health condition or age.
3. The recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D is stated to be 600 international units for all people within the age of 70.
4. For people above the age of 70, the allowance is stated to be 800 international units.
5. It is also possible for a doctor to prescribe over 4000 international units for correcting vitamin D deficiency.
It is recommended for you to consult a doctor regarding vitamin D deficiency in case you do not spend enough time in the sun, or when you always cover your skin by applying sunscreen, which restricts the production of vitamin D. You may need to take vitamin D supplements, as prescribed by the doctor.
For women diagnosed with breast cancer, high vitamin D levels in the blood may be tied to better odds of surviving and having tumors with less deadly characteristics, suggests a new study.
While the new study supports previous research on vitamin D and breast cancer, it can't prove that boosting vitamin D levels will improve outcomes for women with breast cancer.
"Overall, we found a 30 percent reduction of all-cause mortality associated with vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis," said the study's lead author Song Yao, of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York.
The researchers used data from an ongoing study of California women started in 2006. Women were usually enrolled within two months of being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Participants' average age was about 59. They were evaluated when they entered the study and periodically afterward.
The women were split into three roughly equally-sized groups, with about 520 participants each, based on their blood levels of a marker for vitamin D.
The researchers found low levels among women with more advanced cancers. The lowest levels were in women who had not yet entered menopause and were diagnosed with triple-negative cancer, which tends to have worse outcomes than other types of breast cancers.
Over an average of seven years of follow-up, about 100 women with the lowest vitamin D levels died, compared to 76 women with the highest level of vitamin D.
Women with the highest vitamin D levels were 28 percent less likely to die of any cause during the study than women with the lowest vitamin D levels, after accounting for tumor characteristics and other factors, the researchers report in JAMA Oncology.
The link was stronger among premenopausal women. In that group, high vitamin D levels were also tied to a better chance of not having breast cancer recur, and not dying from it.
Yao told Reuters Health it would take a randomized controlled trial, which is the gold-standard of medical research, to examine whether high vitamin D causes women with breast cancer to live longer.
Dr. Wendy Chen, a breast cancer specialist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, agreed that a trial would be needed to say there is a direct link.
"I would not be able to derive a causal relationship from this data, because of all the things that are related to vitamin D and survival," said Chen, who was not involved with the new research.
For example, she told Reuters Health, obesity can influence vitamin D levels and breast cancer prognosis.
Chen said women with breast cancer who currently take low-dose vitamin D supplements should be able to continue during treatment.
Vitamin D serves several functions in the body but is best known for helping bones absorb calcium. Other than sun exposure, one of the best sources of vitamin D is fatty fish like salmon or tuna, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Milk and other products like cereal and some beverages contain added vitamin D, too.
People should get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day from ages 1 through 70, according to the Institute of Medicine. Older people should get 800 IU of the vitamin each day.