This is the one vitamin your body needs more than ever

·3-min read
This is the one vitamin your body needs more than ever
Photo: Aryan Singh/Unsplash

Working from home means your body is being deprived of Vitamin D even more than it was. Despite the abundance of sun, Indians today face vitamin deficiency. Here's why you need Vitamin D, what it does to your body and how you can get it despite being under lockdown

In the early part of the previous decade, it was discovered that Indians, despite having bright sunlight throughout almost the entire year, tend to have a Vitamin D deficiency. Some studies estimated that as many as 40 per cent Indians suffer from a deficiency of the sunshine vitamin due to various reasons.

Why do Indians suffer from Vitamin D deficiency?

Among the reasons why Indians suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin D are:

1. Our skin tone

Medical experts say that the presence of melanin reduces the ability of the skin to make vitamin D, which is why people with darker skin tones – like most Indians, for instance, need as much as 200 to 300 per cent more exposure to sunlight to generate the same amount of vitamin d as compared to a fair-skinned person.

2. Our use of sunscreen

While sunscreen is indeed important to protect ourselves from the harmful effect of the sun’s rays, sunscreen lotions can also prevent synthesis of vitamin D. This is especially true in the case of creams with an SPF or sun protection factor of 15 or higher.

3. Our diet

Vitamin D is primarily found in animal products – think, liver, eggs, fish and fish oils etc – so if you’re not consuming non-vegetarian food, chances are that you may be deficient in Vitamin D.

4. Lack of exposure to sunlight

Exposure to sunlight remains the most reliable way to generate vitamin D but with more people spending more time in air-conditioned offices our exposure to the sun remains limited. This is especially true during the lockdown when we’ve only been stepping outside the house for grocery runs.

But all of this begs the question…

Why do we need vitamin D?

The sunshine vitamin is important to regulate the phosphate and calcium absorption in our body. Which means even if you’re taking enough calcium the deficiency of vitamin D will mean that your bones aren’t absorbing enough amounts of it.

Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to low energy levels and depression. Ongoing studies are also examining the role of vitamin D in the protection of your body against certain cancers and its ability. To manage multiple sclerosis, heart diseases and diabetes.

But if there’s one reason why our body needs the vitamin more than ever right now it’s because vitamin D helps keep the immune system in top shape, something we all need at this moment.

How to get more vitamin D during the lockdown

Including more vitamin D in your diet is one way to go about it – think, kale, eggs, meat etc – but even the most balanced of the diets can contribute only as much as 10 per cent of our vitamin D needs.

You can try to expose yourself to the morning sunlight by stepping out into the balcony or in your courtyard (if you have one) and try spending as much time in places within your house that get sunlight.

But the easiest way at the moment is could well be supplements. Certain doctors avoid recommending vitamin D shots but even they will tell you that supplement sachets are the best way to go in the current scenario. Typically, doctors recommend one sachet a week but it is best to consult a physician before you start taking any kind of supplements.