Vitamin D deficiency rampant, says expert

Vitamin D deficiency rampant, says expert
Dr. Ali Abdul Mahdi, the internal medicine consultant.
Updated 06 June 2016

Vitamin D deficiency rampant, says expert

Vitamin D deficiency rampant, says expert

JEDDAH: Despite the Kingdom being among the top countries in the world in terms of abundant sunlight, Saudis as well as residents suffer from a severe lack of vitamin D, of which the sun is a natural source.
Dr. Ali Abdul Mahdi, an internal medicine consultant, said that residents and citizens in the Kingdom use medicines and dietary supplements to compensate for their lack of vitamin D, as high temperatures do not let them to go out and get the needed exposure to sunlight.
Speaking to Arab News, Mahdi said people can expose themselves to sun at specific times of the day, such as between two hours following sunrise and before noon, and two hours before sunset, to produce the vitamin naturally. The consultant said vitamin D deficiency causes many health complications such as osteoporosis and muscle weakness, especially among the elderly.
The importance of vitamin D lies in its ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are nutrients that play a prominent role in protecting human bones and the strength of muscles, as well fighting diseases such as colon and breast cancers, heart disease, type I diabetes, and common flu.
It can also result in mental illness and depression. The average sunlight in the Kingdom is an estimated 2,200 kWh per square meter due to its location along the earth’s sunbelt.
Mahdi said there are nine major causes that lead to a lack of vitamin D, namely lack of adequate exposure to sunlight; menopause in women; with growing age skin loses vitamin D; malabsorption of vitamin D in the small intestine due to diseases of the intestine; weight gain leads vitamin D to combine with fat; malnutrition; liver and kidney disease; epilepsy drug abuse; and genetic diseases in children due to increased secretion of phosphate.
He emphasized the treatment for vitamin D deficiency is by taking 5 gelatin capsules containing 1,000 IU per day (5,000 IU daily total) over eight weeks, followed by 5,000 units for two months, and then rechecking body levels for vitamin D. If the level is less than 30 nanograms, the dosage is repeated for another eight weeks, or sufficient exposure to the sun for 30 minutes.
Mahdi said “oily fish” like sardines and tuna, butter, egg yolks, liver, and fortified milk are used to compensate for the lack of vitamin D; dietary products also contain vitamin D. People should take precautions as without a doctor’s suggestion and proper check for vitamin D, such dietary supplements can be harmful to health, he added.