Fact Checked

Vitamin D Deficiency: A Hidden Problem In Office Going People

Binish Ahmed

Vitamin D deficiency is slowly becoming an epidemic.

Although required in small quantities, vitamins are as important as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They don’t provide energy, but they boost your immunity, heal wounds, strengthen your bones, improve vision and are responsible for healthy hair and skin. Sadly, we tend to turn a blind eye toward these tiny yet powerful micro-nutrients. Are you aware that urban Indians are highly lacking in vitamin D?

Why are office workers lacking in vitamin D?

Our changing dietary patterns and lifestyle are leading to vitamin D deficiency and if neglected, will lead to long term serious diseases. Vitamins are not produced in our bodies, we must get them from food. Vitamin D is the only one that can be synthesized by our body when sunlight hits our skin. Our busy schedules, use of sunscreen creams, and pollution often make us frown upon sunlight exposure. But little do you know that exposure to the sun for 5-10 minutes for 2-3 times per week can produce enough vitamin D in our bodies. Food such as fish, eggs, milk, and mushrooms are excellent sources of this vitamin.

Despite having abundant sunshine, office-goers are prone to vitamin D deficiency. This happens because such people work indoors for hours and don’t expose themselves to sunlight often enough. Another reason is that many Indians are vegetarians and the sources of this micro-nutrient are of animal origin. Studies have confirmed that vitamin D deficiency or hypovitaminosis D in Indian adults ranges anywhere between 30-91.2%. Thus, hypovitaminosis D is a hidden workplace concern.

Considering these factors, it is high time we pay heed to our vitamin D vulnerabilities.

What can you do?

Here are some steps you can take to address hypovitaminosis D:

Right foods: Try to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. Eat eggs in your breakfast regularly and don’t forget to take a bowl of curd with your lunch. Attempt to eat fish once every week. Nowadays, fortified foods are also available.

Get tested: A test can determine how much vitamin D is present in your body. It is recommended to go for a vitamin D test twice a year if and when prescribed by a doctor.

Supplement saviour: Fish and eggs do contain this vitamin, but the quantity cannot meet your daily needs of 600-1000 units. Consult a doctor and you may be prescribed vitamin D supplements that come in capsules, chewable tablets, and sachets.

Mindful sunshine: Aim to get at least 10-30 minutes of sunlight every day as often as you can. If you have darker skin, you need more exposure. Just remember not to get too much sunlight as your skin may get damaged. Experts suggest getting sunlight between 11 a.m to 2 p.m is the best.

Awareness: If your colleagues don’t go outdoors much, tell them about the importance of vitamin D. Hypovitaminosis D is an underdiagnosed and undertreated issue and many people are not aware of this.

Signs you must never ignore

  • Getting sick too often
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Pain in bones
  • Depressed mood
  • Wound heals slowly

If vitamin D deficiency continues for a long period, it may lead to more serious complications such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, fibromyalgia, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

The bottom lines

People who work at offices or in shifts are vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency. Not just this, our demanding lifestyles are also making us prone to other nutritional deficiencies as well.  Hence, one needs to be proactive when it comes to matters of health. Offices too should include the awareness of vitamin D in their workplace wellness programmes.

“It is health that is the real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

Note: Vitamin D overdose is dangerous. Always consult a doctor before trying out any new food, exercise or supplement.

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