VITAMIN D deficiency has become a worldwide problem. It is estimated that about one billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood.
All age groups are vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency, though children below five, women and people over 65 are at a much higher risk.
One major reason for this deficiency is the lack of adequate exposure to sunlight and the fact that not enough foods contain sufficient amounts of vitamin D to meet the daily body requirements.
A minimum of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of 30 mg/ml, is required to maximise vitamin D’s beneficial effects for health.
Professionals widely recognise vitamin D deficiency as a contributing factor for many diseases as it has a major disease fighting role. Vitamin D deficiency may lead towards an increased chance of developing osteoporosis, rickets in children, osteomalacia among children and adults, cardiovascular diseases, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, infectious diseases, dementia and cancer, etc.
It is time we prepared diagnostic kits locally to reduce the cost of the test. Physicians must regularly prescribe this test and we must ensure that we get sufficient exposure to sunlight, eat vitamin D-rich foods, including fish, cheese, beef liver, egg yolks and dairy products.
The philanthropic bodies and healthcare professionals must create awareness about the importance of vitamin D.
The understanding about the role of multivitamins needs to be further strengthened through research.
Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2015