The UAE has no shortage of sun, but despite that, over 80% of the country’s population has vitamin D deficiency. But why is that a serious issue?
Vitamin D deficiency can be described as a “silent disease” because many of its symptoms usually go unnoticed or misdiagnosed for other conditions such as stress or migraine.
To understand the role vitamin D plays in our bodies and the severity of its deficiency, here are the 8 facts you need to know about the “sunshine vitamin”:
- Vitamin D can be obtained through sun exposure or by consuming foods such as tuna, salmon, cheese, eggs and beef liver. It can also be found in certain fortified dairy products such as milk or juices.
- In addition to maintaining the health of the skeletal system, recent studies proved that vitamin D plays a major part in enhancing the immune system and the overall health of the body because of its role in the metabolic function of pancreas, brain, liver, heart and kidneys.
- Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include: Fatigue, hair loss, peeling of nails, head ache, skin rashes, bone pain, muscle aches, loss of energy and chronic pain in general.
- The most common causes ofvitamin D deficiency are: inadequate exposure to sunlight, low nutritional intake of vitamin D, indoor confinement during the day, living at higher altitudes, living in urban areas with tall buildings, air pollution, aging, sunscreen use, degree of skin pigmentation, dressing habits and lack of awareness.
- Most people are unaware of the correct way to obtain vitamin D from sun exposure. for example, the body cannot produce enough vitamin D if it’s exposed to the sunlight through glass windows or doors because the UV rays get reflected. The best way to do so is by sitting outdoors under direct sunlight for 15 minutes (more if you have darker skin tone), but avoid the high temperature hours.
- When taking vitamin D by consuming fortified foods you should make sure that you are getting the right and adequate level of the vitamin your body needs, no more and no less.
- Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to dementia, autism and premature death.
- Vitamin D is important for expecting mothers, for children and for all adults for healthy bones, muscles and teeth.