NAGPUR: Over the last decade, more research on Vitamin D has brought to fore the severity of problems associated with its deficiency, said Pune-based Dr Pramod Jog, chairman of International Paediatric Association (IPA) committee on Vitamin D and Calcium guidelines.
He was speaking at a Knowledge Sharing Conclave organized on Sunday in a city hotel by the IPA.
Quoting a survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, he said 32% of the doctors as well as medical students were themselves Vitamin D deficient. “More than 65% children are born with this deficiency as more than 80% of Indian women are Vitamin D deficient, which is passed on to the child. A deficient mother’s milk can provide only about 40 units of Vitamin D per litre, whereas the requirement in children is 400 units,” he said adding he advised parents of new born children to at least give them a bath in the sun for 15 minutes every day.
Some 90% of Vitamin D requirement is met through sunlight exposure while the rest ten per cent is gained from one’s diet. Dr Jog advised against use of sunscreens since they blocked nearly 95% of sunlight. He also spoke against the practice of covering oneself from head to toe in summer, a practice observed among many women, especially in Nagpur. Maximum conversion of Vitamin D under the skin takes place between 10am to 3pm as during this time, the sun rays fall on the skin in a vertical manner. These rays cannot penetrate through glass.
“In high heat areas such as Nagpur, a balance should be maintained. About 45 minutes of sunlight exposure is needed on at least 40% of the body area, which could mean part of leg below knees every day,” he said.
Dr Jog said that apart from bone health and calcium, Vitamin D also regulated immune system and lowered the risk of cancers of prostate, ovaries and breast. It also kept one away from autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases and infections. Its deficiency in children could delay their motor development, cause wide wrist, large head, repeated respiratory condition and excessive sweating. In all 36 organs of the body required this vitamin that has effect at a cellular level, he added.