Data reveals 3 out of 4 Indians suffer from vitamin D deficiency; young adults below 25 most affected

Data reveals 3 out of 4 Indians suffer from vitamin D deficiency; young adults below 25 most affected



Vitamin D or the ‘Sunshine’ vitamin is a vital nutrient that helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. This in turn promotes stronger bones, teeth and muscles. According to the UK National Health Services (NHS), the nutrient helps in preventing the risk of bone deformities such as rickets in children, and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults.
But as important as it is to note the functions of vitamin D, it is as crucial to understand the health risks posed by vitamin D deficiency. Low levels of this nutrient is said to cause several health issues. In fact, research has linked vitamin D deficiency to health disorders such as prostate cancer, depression, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. However, what’s even more concerning is that a large population in India suffers from this nutrient deficiency.

Shocking data from Tata 1mg Labs reveals that nearly 76% of the Indian population suffers from vitamin D deficiency.
The study involved tests of more than 2.2 lakh people conducted across 27 cities in India.

The findings revealed that 79% of overall men and 75% of women were found with lower-than-desirable levels of vitamin D in their bodies.

Vadodara (89%) and Surat (88%) were found to have the highest and Delhi-NCR the lowest (72%) incidence of vitamin D deficiency among all the cities from where the data was collected.

Impact on youngsters

An analysis of Tata 1mg data found that younger people were most affected byVitamin D deficiency compared to the national average. According to the report, its prevalence was highest in the age group of below 25 years (84%), followed by 25–40 years (81%).

All-India data on Vitamin D levels based on analysis of 2.2 lakh samples between March-August 2022:

Gender Percentage
Male 79%
Female 75%

Age group Percentage
Below 25 years 84%
25-40 81%

Causes

According to Dr. Rajeev Sharma, VP, Medical Affairs, Tata 1mg: “Changing food habits and an indoor lifestyle with inadequate exposure to sunlight have led to a drastic increase in cases of vitamin D deficiency. The much higher prevalence in young adults can also be attributed to lower consumption of vitamin D-containing foods like fortified cereals and oily fish. However, seasonal variations in exposure to sunlight can also be a likely explanation, especially during winters. Unspaced and unplanned pregnancies in women with dietary deficits can lead to worsening of vitamin D status in both mother and child.”

Important steps to take

Dr Prashant Nag, Clinical Head, Tata 1mg Labs shares, “Vitamin D levels should be checked regularly in cases of obesity, mal-absorption syndrome or softening of the bones (osteomalacia), or if the patient is getting treatment for TB. Vitamin D levels can also be checked along with regular full-body checkups, which are recommended to be done every six months or at least once a year. Infants and children under the age of five, pregnant and breastfeeding women, teenagers and young women, people over the age of 65, and those with limited sun exposure are the most vulnerable to Vitamin D deficiency.”

Furthermore, the experts suggest having enough exposure to sunlight and consuming foods rich in vitamin D such as egg yolks, oily fish, red meat, and fortified foods to prevent vitamin D deficiency. According to them, the human skin contains a type of cholesterol that functions as a precursor to vitamin D. When exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun, it turns into vitamin D.



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