Mumbai: Nearly 78% of Mumbai’s population suffers from vitamin D deficiency, according to data compiled by Tata 1mg Labs which recently tested more than 2.2 lakh people across 27 cities in India.
Worryingly, young adults were found to be much more affected by vitamin D deficiency compared to the national average. The prevalence was highest in the age group below 25 years (84%) followed by 25–40 years (81%), further analysis revealed.
Why is Vitamin D essential and what happens when you have deficit of this vitamin?
A deficiency of vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, is linked to bone and back pain, impaired wound healing, bone loss, and hair loss, and can impact the immune system causing individuals to be prone to infections. It leads to growing cases of osteoporosis and hair loss among the younger population. The deficiency has been also linked to health disorders such as prostate cancer, depression, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and rickets.
“Percentage of (surveyed) people suffering from vitamin D deficiency is more than the national average which is 76%. Moreover, 79% of men overall were found with lower-than-desirable levels of vitamin D in their bodies. For women, the figure was 75%,” the study revealed further.
Area-wise breakup of survey
Vadodara (89%) and Surat (88%) were found to have the highest and Delhi-NCR the lowest (72%) incidences of vitamin D deficiency among all the cities from where the data was collected.
Dr Rajeev Sharma, Vice President of Tata 1mg, has attributed this deficiency to the change in food habits and unhealthy lifestyle with inadequate exposure to sunlight. The much higher prevalence in young adults can also be attributed to lower consumption of vitamin D-containing foods like fortified cereals and oily fish.
“Seasonal variations in exposure to sunlight can also be a likely explanation, especially during winters. Unspaced and unplanned pregnancies in women with dietary deficits can lead to worsening of vitamin D status in both mother and child,” he underlined.
Dr Prashant Nag, Clinical Head at Tata 1mg Labs, said vitamin D levels should be checked regularly in cases of obesity, malabsorption syndrome or softening of the bones (osteomalacia), or if the patient is getting treatment for TB. Vitamin D levels can also be checked along with regular full-body checkups, which are recommended to be done every six months or at least once a year.
“Infants and children under the age of five, pregnant and breastfeeding women, teenagers and young women, people over the age of 65, and those with limited sun exposure are the most vulnerable to vitamin D deficiency,” Dr Nag added.
Human skin hosts a type of cholesterol that functions as a precursor to vitamin D. When exposed to UV-B radiation from the sun, it turns into vitamin D. Having enough exposure to sunlight and consuming foods rich in vitamin D such as egg yolks, oily fish, red meat, and fortified foods can help prevent the deficiency.
Tata 1mg Labs
City with highest deficiency
Less than 25 year age group
Prevalence in percentage
Another deficient age group
Prevalence in percentage
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)