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High prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among women in Kashmir

KINS Correspondent

Srinagar May 22: In Kashmir, there’s a prevalent vitamin D deficiency, particularly among women, stemming from inadequate sunlight exposure and a scarcity of foods rich in vitamin D in their diets, according to a study titled ‘Assessment of Vitamin D Status in General Population of Kashmir Valley of Indian Subcontinent’.

The study, which looked into the vitamin D levels of people in Kashmir by measuring serum 25-hydroxyvitamin [25(OH)D] levels, found that 222 (82.2%) of the subjects studied had Vitamin D deficiency. Of these, 45 of the 69 males and 177 of the 201 females were found to be Vitamin D deficient. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency ranged from 58% in the farmers’ group to 93% in the employee group. Further, vitamin D deficient subjects had a significantly lower mean weekly exposure to sunlight. Many factors can cause vitamin D deficiency, including insufficient exposure to sunlight and lack of vitamin D-rich foods in the diet. Other reasons could be the kidneys’ inability to convert vitamin D into its active form and the digestive tract’s inadequate absorption of the nutrient, experts say.

Dr. Mohammad Shafi, a physician, noted that some of the early and most common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, insomnia, hair loss, loss of appetite, bone pain, and aches. He attributed the increase in cases of vitamin D deficiency to changing food habits and an indoor lifestyle with inadequate exposure to sunlight.

“Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. Those suffering from Vitamin D deficiency should consume fish, red meat, liver, and egg yolks,” the doctor told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).

According to experts, the human skin contains 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.

Dr. Shafi also highlighted that unplanned pregnancies in women with dietary deficits can exacerbate vitamin D deficiency in both the mother and child.

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