Cheese, fatty fish, mushrooms, etc are rich source of vitamin D

A Delhi boy died of Vitamin D overdose what you need to know to keep the deficiency at bay
news Saturday, April 30, 2016 - 17:09

A ten-year-old boy in Delhi died of vitamin D toxicity or vitamin D overdose, bringing to light the growing instances of vitamin D deficiency cases in India and the dangers of vitamin D supplementation.

According to Dr. Sahana Devdas, a pediatrician who has a fellowship in Neonatology and is Assistant Professor at Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute about 70-80% people in India suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is when your body doesn’t have enough vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones as it helps the body use calcium from one’s diet.

What causes it?

According to Dr. Devdas the reason behind the increasing number of such cases is the religious, cultural and dietary influences of people in India, as a lot of them are vegetarians and don’t consume foods rich in vitamin D. Changing lifestyle, less exposure to sunlight in urban areas and increased intake of junk food are also some of the reasons contributing to vitamin D deficiency.

What are the symptoms?

Muscle cramps, fatigue, joint pains, depression, high blood pressure, weakness, hair loss, short stature in children are some of the vitamin D deficiency symptoms that one has to watch out for.

Who should be worried?

Adults and children are both equally susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. However, small children, pregnant women, senior citizens are more prone to vitamin D deficiency. “Now-a-days even new born children are given oral vitamin D supplementation due to vitamin D deficiency in mothers,” said Dr. Devdas.

What can be done to fight vitamin D deficiency?

Direct exposure to sunlight for at least 20-30 minutes per day, good dietary intake (equivalent to one liter of milk and milk products) and consumption of food rich in vitamin D are the best ways to fight vitamin D deficiency.

Food items rich in vitamin D?

Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, cheese, mushrooms, egg yolks, fish liver oil and fortified food products like soy milk, etc.

What is vitamin D toxicity or vitamin D overdose?

Vitamin D deficiency is usually caused by megadoses of vitamin D supplements — not by diet or sun exposure. Your body can regulate the amount of vitamin D produced by sun exposure, and even fortified foods don't contain large amounts of vitamin D. The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hyper-calcemia).  

On being asked whether vitamin D deficiency is being over diagnosed in India Dr. Devdas said that such cases were coming into light in India only now in the past three years. Another doctor from a government hospital in Hyderabad, on the condition of anonymity said that vitamin D deficiency cases were actually under diagnosed in India.  

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