Pollution partly to blame for India’s low vitamin D status

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Vitamin d

Pollution partly to blame for India’s low vitamin D status
High levels of environmental pollution have been blamed for being among the causes for elevated vitamin D deficiency in India after a study found that three-quarters of the population did not produce enough of the compound.

The research, co-authored by DSM Nutritional Products, was carried out to summarise the vitamin D status of healthy Indians individuals across all age groups. 

Composed of fat-soluble compounds, the vitamin plays an essential role in the growth and maintenance of the skeletal system through the regulation of calcium. Unlike other vitamins, of which sufficient levels can be consumed through diet, exposure to the sun is the main source of vitamin D.

Its deficiency is traditionally associated with inappropriate bone mineralisation, leading to rickets in children and osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults. 

The meta-analysis study concluded that despite India’s sunny climate, 75% of the adult population had a deficient vitamin D status. This was significantly above the global average of 38%. 

This overwhelming national deficiency, the paper suggests, can be explained by India’s high pollution levels, which prevent ultraviolet radiations from reaching the Earth’s surface. 

Additionally, an increasingly urban population has changed India’s housing landscape, resulting in over-crowded houses with limited daylight. 

The typical middle-class lifestyle now favours staying inside air-conditioned homes, rather than sitting outside in the sun. The use of clothing to cover the face or body parts due to cultural or religious beliefs or for sun protection, also limits sun exposure. 

Manfred Eggersdorfer, a senior vice-president at DSM and professor at Groningen University, said that guidance on optimal vitamin D status and intake, and ways to fill the nutritional gap, are required. 

Low vitamin D status remains a major public health concern in India as well as other parts of the world, and can have a significant impact on healthcare costs​,” said Dr Eggersdorfer. 

Dietary supplements are an effective, low cost and safe source of vitamin D, but consumption in India is not common​.” 

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1 comment

half naked studies spread misinformation

Posted by g,

this is complete rubtbish.. low vitamin d is not indicative of anything..has there been a cross racial study of vitamin d. and coupled with a multivariate study of occurence of vitamin d deficiency diseases , with race ,diet location, time of year environment all as input variables??

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