The True Pandemic of our times - Vitamin D Deficiency

The True Pandemic of our times - Vitamin D Deficiency

Believe it or not, we are facing a pandemic of vitamin D deficiency. Shouldn’t we be having enough vitamin D? After all, we live in a sunny place, spend at least 15 minutes a day in the sun, drink milk and take a daily multivitamin which contains 100% of the recommended dose of vitamin D. The answer sadly is, ‘NO.’

Why so?

Modern lifestyle: We are living in an era of industrial and technological revolution which minimises our exposure to the sun. Most people work and even eat indoors. Over the weekend, we watch TV or browsing the world wide web rather than seeking outdoor entertainment. Teenagers are typically hooked to a computer or are seen playing video games. Shopping too is indoors, thanks to huge grocery stores and shopping malls.

Avoiding the sun: Over the last three decades, we have been led to believe that we should avoid over- exposure to the sun. People are scared of the ill-effects of sunlight, including skin cancer, wrinkles, and age spots. When we go out even for a little time, we make sure to apply sunscreen lotions and creams. The fact is that if our internal levels of vitamin D are high, the sun cannot damage our skin.

Obesity: As vitamin D is fat-soluble, it gets stored in our body’s fat. In obese individuals, there is excessive storage of vitamin D. Therefore, the circulating levels of vitamin D are low for them. Obesity too, has reached epidemic proportions, contributing to the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. Sub-optimal liver and kidney functions:The liver transforms Vitamin D from the blood into its active, intermediary form–25(OH) vitamin D. In the kidneys, it is further converted to the final active form 1, 25 (OH)2 vitamin D. Unfortunately, in today’s time, our liver and kidney functions are not optimum due to environmental toxins, heavy metals, chemical additives to the food we eat, to name a few. This hampers the activation of vitamin D into its functional form.

Magnesium deficiency: Magnesium is the most under-rated and the most deficient vital mineral in our bodies today. Its a critical co-factor needed to activate vitamin D at all steps. Magnesium deficiency too is rampant. Moreover, it goes unnoticed because it is 99% intracellular and blood levels cannot prove its deficiency.

Medications: Some medications such as steroids, rifampicin, orlistat can further decrease vitamin D levels directly. Other medications such as antacids, H2 receptor blockers like omeprazole, pantoprazole family indirectly affect Vitamin D levels by reducing magnesium. And we consume these medicines quite regularly.

So let us educate ourselves and be a partner in taking charge of our own health.