BY DR. KHOOBSURAT NAJMA
Do you experience tiredness, excessive weakness, joint or muscle pain? One of the most common reasons for these symptoms could be vitamin D deficiency. About 83% females and 85% males in India are reported to have low Vitamin D levels. Making it very important for each one of us to know and practice ways to get our daily Vitamin D.
Vitamin D Deficiency: Facts and Implications
Get Vitamin D from Sunlight
Most people get some vitamin D from sunlight. When the sun shines on your bare skin, your body makes its own vitamin D. The paler your skin type the more easily your skin can produce vitamin D. Here are some quick tips to keep in mind :
1 . In winters, sit under the sun closer to midday
2 . Fair-skinned people need around 5-10 minutes on a sunny day, a few times a week. People with darker skin tone and the elderly need around 20-30 minutes of sun exposure
3 . Expose a large area of your skin, such as your back, rather than your face or arms, to make the most of the sunlight
4 . Do not apply sunscreen when exposing your body to sunlight as this might interfere with the production of vitamin D
5 . Sunlight passing through glass does not boost your vitamin D levels
6 . Don’t tan or burn your skin to get the vitamin D you need
Get Vitamin D from Foods
Most of the foods we eat have no naturally occurring vitamin D. Some foods that have vitamin D include:
1 . Milk fortified with Vitamin D
2 . Mushrooms
3 . Fortified Cereals
4 . Egg yolk
5 . Salmon, tuna, fish oils
Find out more about sources of vitamin D.
Get Vitamin D from Supplements
If you do not get enough sun exposure and cannot take foods that are rich in vitamin D, you may start taking vitamin D supplements. There are two kinds of supplements :
1 . D2 (ergocalciferol), which is the type found in food
2 . D3 (cholecalciferol), which is the type made from sunlight
Though produced differently, both can raise vitamin D levels in your blood. Always consult a doctor before starting any vitamin supplement.
Optimal Level of Vitamin D
A level of 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency. The most accurate way to measure amount of vitamin D in your body is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test.