Archive for the ‘ Vitamin D ’ Category

Staying Fit this Winter

Monday, December 14th, 2020

As we approach the most pleasant climate of the year and an end to the challenging 2020 the world seems a brighter and happier place. The winter chills bring a smile to many faces and some fond memories too. While winter brings a lot of joy to many, some cities in India face extreme winters that may lead to certain health repercussions. Some extra precautions must be followed to maintain optimum health. The low temperature and the lack of sunlight also weaken immunity making people susceptible to many common diseases like cold, cough and flu.

Common winter ailments

Here are the most common winter ailments that affect people in winter:

Common cold: Runny noses, sneezing, and chest congestion are a common winter occurrence. Young children are more prone to this viral infection and may also develop a minor fever.

Influenza: More commonly known as the ‘flu’, symptoms of influenza include high fever, sore throat, splitting headache, muscle pain, and coughing bouts.

Joint aches: The low temperature in winter, makes your joints extremely inflexible and more painful. This makes people with arthritis and other orthopaedic problems struggle with complaints of body ache, joint ache, and discomfort.

Bronchitis: It is a common respiratory infection that tends to target children and adults above the age of 60 years. The virus causes inflammation of the airway branches in the lungs, leading to mucous clogging the airways, which makes it hard to breathe. It is accompanied by nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, cough, and wheezing.

Pneumonia: Pneumonia is the infection of the lungs, caused by bacteria. You may have a cough, fever, and breathing problems. Having long-term diseases like asthma, hypertension, or heart problems may increase your risk of getting pneumonia.

Beating the Blues

strengthen your body by following these health tips and including some winter superfoods in your diet:

  • Get your daily dose of vitamin D by getting enough sunlight. This helps strengthen your bones, boosts your immune system, and also helps fight mood swings.
  • Create a daily exercise routine and exercise indoors if required. Physical activity of at least 30 minutes five days a week helps strengthen your immune system and maintain your overall health.  
  • Regular intake of dates keeps your body warm which makes them a great winter snack. They are low in fat and help supply your body with essential nutrients too.
  • Bajra or millets are rich in fat, protein, and fibre, and also are high in iron content. Regular consumption helps energize your body and keeps you warm.
  • Dark leafy greens like spinach, fenugreek, mustard greens, etc. are rich in vitamins A, C, K, and various other nutrients. They not only enhance your bone health but also help fight the winter skin dryness.
  • Dry fruits like almonds and walnuts help keep your body warm and also ensure an active nervous system, a healthy heart, and improved insulin sensitivity.
  • Chyawanprash is made using a variety of ayurvedic herbs and the goodness of amla or gooseberry that helps support the body’s natural ability to produce red blood cells and helps keep the respiratory passages clear.
  • Use warming spices like cloves and cinnamon to flavour your meals. Cinnamon is a warming spice that helps increase blood circulation, aids in tissue regeneration, and is anti-inflammatory. Cloves produce a large amount of eugenol, an oil that makes the skin feel warmer and increases blood circulation.
  • Sesame or til seeds are known to be very helpful in maintaining a good temperature of your body. They help boost your energy, digestion, and bone health. Relish this winter staple in the form of chikki, and by using sesame oil for cooking.
  • Ghee is a winter essential that is rich in unsaturated fat and is responsible for keeping the body warm and also supplying it with energy.

Enjoy these winter months by having nourishing food and by staying away from unhealthy lifestyle habits. Make the most out of winter by eating seasonal fruits and vegetables that boost your immune system naturally.

Vitamin D Deficiency – A Silent Epidemic

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

Do you get exhausted easily? Do you get palpitations very often? Do your muscles feel sore and weak? Well, then there is a great likelihood that you could be a victim of Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D (calciferol) belongs to a group of fat soluble secosteroids. In humans, vitamin D is unique because of its functions as a prohormone as well as its synthesis to vitamin D3 in the body when exposed to adequate sunlight.

Vitamin D regulates the concentration of calcium and phosphate in the body and promotes healthy growth and remodelling of the bone. Vitamin D prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Along with calcium, it protects elder adults from osteoporosis.

Vitamin D also affects neuromuscular functions, causes inflammation and influences the action of many genes that regulate proliferation and apoptosis of the cells. Vitamin D is also essential for the healthy growth of hair follicle as well as for a healthy immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is the main cause of rickets in young infants because breast milk is low in vitamin D and so is the cereal based diet.

Vitamin D & Bones

Vitamin D deficiency is known to cause several bone diseases like:

  • Rickets, a childhood disease characterised by impeded growth and deformity of the long bones. The earliest sign of subclinical vitamin D deficiency is abnormal softening or thinning of the skull
  • Osteomalacia, a bone-thinning disorder that occurs exclusively in adults, and is characterised by proximal muscle weakness and bone fragility
  • Osteoporosis, a condition characterised by reduced bone mineral density and increased bone fragility
People At Risk
  • Naturally dark skinned people
  • Elderly & people who are housebound
  • People who cover their skin for religious or cultural reasons
  • Babies & infants of vitamin D deficient mothers, especially breast fed babies
Signs & Symptoms
  • Poor growth in children
  • Delayed tooth formation
  • Dental deformities
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Bone pain
  • Spine and other bone deformities
  • Stooped posture and loss of height
Managing Vitamin D Deficiency

25 hydroxyvitamin D level of 20 ng/ml (nanogram/mililitre) in serum is desirable for bone and overall health. Vitamin D intake lower than 100 International Unit (IU)/day is associated with increased risk of hip fracture.

Oral vitamin D replacement or intramuscular injections are prescribed to treat Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D Facts

  • Without sufficient vitamin D, which is crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines, your body cannot absorb calcium, thus rendering calcium supplements useless
  • Sunscreens, even the ones like SPF-8 block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. Therefore, sunscreen products can create critical vitamin deficiency in the body
  • Natural sunlight rays responsible for generating vitamin D in your skin cannot penetrate glass. Therefore, your body can not generate vitamin D from the sunlight you receive while sitting in your car or home
Research Highlights

Research shows that dark skinned people living in the temperate climate have low Vitamin D levels as melanin in the skin hinders vitamin D synthesis.