Over 65% of people were found to be Vitamin D deficient
Dependence on Supplements Not Without Health Risks, May Not Lead to Stronger Bones
Over 65% of people were found to be Vitamin D deficient in a rural region of Maharashtra; the number is expected to be higher in cities due to urban life.
Taking Vitamin D supplements especially paired with calcium beyond a certain dosage can increase side effects.
Vitamin D and calcium supplements may have only limited efficacy in preventing the weakening of bones.
INVC NEWS New Delhi, In a recent study conducted in a rural region of Maharashtra, over 65% of people were found Vitamin D deficient in the region. As vitamin D is directly received from Sunlight, the numbers are expected to be higher in cities with confined urban lifestyle. With around936 vitamin formulations available across India, supplement dependency has increased over the years, with people believing that popping pills is one-shot solution to fight nutrient deficiency. However, as per a recent research, consumption of vitamin and calcium supplements may have only limited efficacy in preventing the weakening of bones. Specially impacting the elderly and women at post menopausal stage, deficiency of vitamin D and calcium is the root cause of weakness of bones, making them fragile as people grow old. In nutrition deficient sections of society the onset of diseases such as osteoporosis is much earlier. A common practice that’s catching up especially in adults is the regular usage of vitamin D supplements, which might do less than previously understood in preventing weakness in bones. Dr. Kiran Kharat, Consultant- Orthopedics, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune says “Patients usually do not consult doctors before getting vitamin supplements a part of their regular diet. Also, many a times, they assume that supplements are healthy and continue taking them post prescription. Supplements are prescribed when a sharp drop in the vitamin levels is seen. To gain them back to normalcy, supplements work fine. But solely relying on them is a problem that needs to be addressed. Medication provides an additional push to prevent an ailment from occurring but they do not guarantee fool-proof prevention against the disease. If the vitamin dosage is higher than 1000 IUs, there are increased chances of serious side effects, particularly in combination with Calcium. Vitamin supplements are also taken to rejuvenate the skin. But this does not provide a long term solution.” Vitamin D is a nutrient important for maintaining bone density. It helps the intestines to absorb calcium. However, in post-menopausal women who increasingly suffer from osteoporosis because the rate of bone loss accelerates due to decline estrogen concentration in the body during the post-menopausal years. The rate of decline of BMD can range from 4% to 5.7%.In India, estimated 61 million people with 61% women are suffering from the disease. To counter the same, it is increasingly becoming important that the focus is brought back to nutrition and sunlight, especially when the urban lifestyle is restricting us inside four walls of homes, offices, malls and halls, and at the same time taking us away from all sources of good nutrition. “Twofold approach will ensure we win the fight against vitamin and calcium deficiency and reduce dependency on supplements. The first part includes increased exposure to morning sunlight when the sun rays are not harmful and outdoor physical activity. The second aspect includes diet management. As a part of diet management, consumption of nutrient rich foods, including calcium, protein, magnesium, and importantly vitamin D, is mandatory. Pulses, beans nonfat milk, curd, broccoli, cauliflower, fish, dry fruits, and leafy vegetables need to be included in the daily diet, lessening the role of high calorific sugar and carbohydrates.” Dr. Kiran Kharat, Consultant- Orthopedics, Columbia Asia Hospital, Pune added.