August 13, 2022

Should You Check Your Vitamin D Levels?

Should You Check Your Vitamin D Levels?
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Despite falling under a tropical zone of the earth, abundant with sunshine, many in India still suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Scientists claim that it is mainly due to the practice of working long hours in air-conditioned offices or staying indoors and being sedentary.

Possible Factors For Low Levels

1. Discrimination Of Complexion

The long ages of glorifying pale skin are gone, but India still appears to maintain an obsession with fair skin. Although most youngsters have progressed from this idea, a large population still looks up to pale skin as a beauty standard. As a result, avoiding the sun to prevent one from darkening became the norm. By decreasing the amount of sunlight, consequently, levels of vitamin D may get depleted.

2. Vegetarianism

Dietary sources of vitamin D are mostly animal products with a few plant-based sources and fortified pantry items. Acquiring enough vitamin D from only your diet may be difficult without the support of sunlight or additional supplements.

3. Sunscreen

Protection from the sun through sunscreen is beneficial as a preventive aid against developing skin cancer. But it blocks out the synthesis of vitamin D. Ideally, allowing your skin some exposure to morning sunshine is recommended than exposing your skin from the afternoon to evening.

4. Melanin

Melanin is a pigment present in the skin that gives human beings their skin tone. The more melanin one contains, the darker their skin tone. The more melanin one has, the longer their exposure to sunlight should be to create vitamin D.

5. Obesity

An association between increased weight and low vitamin D appears to exist. Science explains that cholesterol helps produce vitamin D, and this process changes a bit in heavier people. However, there is a lack of evidence for this claim. Few experts argue that obese people naturally spend less time in the sun, as they lead a sedentary lifestyle, contributing to their insufficient vitamin D levels.

Importance Of Vitamin D

Experts claim that vitamin D is one of the vital components they check for in all patients. One of the essential vitamins of the body, doctors say more than 50% of the people they treat are deficient in it. Though a common problem, it is easily treatable through dietary changes and supplementation.

A deficiency can lead to symptoms ranging from fatigue to mood swings to musculoskeletal issues. It is even associated with the progression of an autoimmune disorder, multiple sclerosis.

Low vitamin D levels can cause soft, breakable bones, leading to stunted growth in kids. In adults, the risk of fractures rises with low vitamin D levels.

Risk Factors Of Vitamin D

Living farther away from the equator, where there is less sunlight, can increase your chances of insufficient vitamin D synthesis.

Though sunscreens are a protective agent against UV rays, they can obstruct vitamin D formation. But do not forego sunscreen for this purpose. Check with your physician for the most suitable way of acquiring vitamin D. They will suggest a diet plan, supplements, or morning sunlight.

Some pathological conditions with vitamin D deficiency as a sign are:

  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Gastric bypass surgery
  • Inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD or IBS)
  • Damaged pancreas

Since a good quantity of dietary vitamin D comes from animal-based products, individuals following a vegan lifestyle may not get enough vitamin D through their diet.

Global Perspectives Towards Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a standard supplement for people in India. But, the US Preventive Services Task Force believes there isn't adequate evidence to push vitamin D as a mandatory prescription or even screen people for its deficiency.

Controversially, many experts retaliated that vitamin D is a vitamin that requires thorough examination and treatment.

It is because there is no standard for what constitutes vitamin D deficiency. It may lead to under or over-supplementing with the nutrient. Over supplementation may be a cause of concern as one potential risk of high doses of vitamin D is toxicity.

The ideal vitamin D range should be between 60 to 80 ng/mL. A level of more than 100ng/mL may result in the formation of kidney stones.

It is usually observed in cases of extremely high doses of 10,000 IU and above but rarely below that level. Standard vitamin D supplements come in a quantity of 1,000 - 2,000 IU.

Fortification Of Foods A Must?

While vitamin D is readily available through sunlight and dietary sources, our lifestyle has changed over the years. Our current population hardly gets the recommended 20 minutes of sunshine due to the increase in a sedentary and air-conditioned way of living.

Though we can acquire some vitamin D through food sources, it may be challenging to hit the 600 IU standard, which is the required amount for the ages 1 to 70.

Commonly used pantry items like flour, fruit juices, eggs, and dairy products are enhanced with additional vitamin D to combat the deficient vitamin levels. It is considered a wise decision to help maintain optimum vitamin D levels.

When diagnosed with insufficient vitamin D, your physician may recommend a diet change, more outdoor time for exposure to sunlight, or even supplements. 

Countless patients have benefited from supplementing with vitamin D for various disorders associated with bone, cardiac, mental health, and immunity.


Adequate vitamin D holds a multitude of beneficial effects on the body. Though rarely documented and hard to consume in high doses, such elevated levels may lead to toxicity. Do consult a qualified physician for the appropriate dosage as required by you.

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