Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Vitamin-D Deficiency

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Vitamin D

Mains level : Not Much

The pandemic-induced lockdown has confined people to their houses for five months now. The resultant lack of sunlight, followed by rains, has brought down the vitamin D levels to the lowest.

Try this PYQ from CSP 2014:

Q.Consider the following pairs:

Vitamin Deficiency:: Disease

  1. Vitamin C::Scurvy
  2. Vitamin D:: Rickets
  3. Vitamin E:: Night blindness

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None

What is Vitamin-D?

  • Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that has myriad positive effects on several systems in the body.
  • Unlike other vitamins, it functions like a hormone and every cell in your body has a receptor for it.
  • It is sparsely found in certain fatty fish and fortified dairy products, and it is extremely difficult to get the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of 600-800 IU from diet alone.

There are two main forms of vitamin D in the diet:

– Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) — found in plant foods like mushrooms.
– Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) — found in animal foods like salmon, cod and egg yolks.

Common signs and symptoms of the deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is incredibly common and most people are unaware of it, as the symptoms are subtle and nonspecific.

– Getting sick or infected often with common cold and flu, because of a weak immune system.
– Fatigue and tiredness
– Bone and muscle pains
– Depression
– Impaired wound healing
– Bone loss and osteoporosis

Sources of Vit. D

  • Sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D. Sunlight synthesizes cholesterol into Vitamin D3.
  • Usually, 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm is adequate to meet daily requirements, in places with minimum pollution levels.
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