03 Jul The Indian emergency of Vitamin D
The Indian emergency of Vitamin D
Dr. Mithal found massive amounts of bone malformation in children for which there was no clear explanation. Eventually, his research convinced him that the water in those villages had high level of fluoride and the fluoride was causing the bone damage.
As he continued checking on cases of malformed bones, he became convinced that there had to be another reason. We all know that calcium is one obvious contributor to bone health, but Mithal began to wonder if there was also a Vitamin D deficiency. It is Vitamin D that helps transport calcium all over the body.
At first, the idea seemed ridiculous. How could Indians who live and work in the sun be short of a vitamin that is produced naturally by the body from sunlight? But as he began testing for Vitamin D levels in the blood, Mithal was convinced he had it right.
For instance, women from communities that either did not let them go out much or only let them go out if they were covered from head to toe had severe bone problems and yes, low levels of Vitamin D.
Mithal began to look at tests in the cities. He found that Vitamin D levels were far below normal and that they fell further in winter.
His hypothesis – now accepted by most doctors I know – was that while our ancestors spent a long time in the sun, today’s Indians shun direct sunlight. We travel in covered vehicles. We remain indoors more often. We spend less time out on playing fields.
But even if we do go out, there are other factors. Your body won’t pick up many UV rays from the sun if you go jogging in the morning or if you play a game of tennis in the early evening. The best time for the UV rays is between noon to 3pm when the sun’s rays are at their highest. And that’s exactly the time when no one wants to go out in the sun.