Upto 8,000 IUs of vitamin D per day is required to achieve a serum level of 40 ng/ml. But, this cannot be achieved through sun exposure or dietary intervention alone. Supplementation becomes important to overcome deficiency and results can be seen sooner.
Simplest way to measure vitamin D status is serum concentration of 25(OH)D.
Normal range/ cut-offs – Serum 25(OH)D
- < 20 ng/mL = deficiency
- 20–29 ng/mL = insufficiency
- ≥30 ng/mL = sufficiency
Vitamin D deficiency requires a three-pronged approach because there is no one single solution
- Sun exposure
Unfortunately, for the skin to be able to synthesize vitamin D naturally, there are several important factors to be controlled:
- Sunlight – specific angle, specific time of the day , clean air to pass through
- Skin – less melanin pigment, no sunscreen , young age of the individual
2. Vitamin D rich foods: foods that are naturally rich in Vitamin D are mostly of animal origin such as
- Wild salmon
- Raw cheese
- Egg yolk
Vitamin D fortified milk and mushrooms are also an option but their access and availability is limited.
3. Supplements: Allow your physician to advise the right dosage of the vitamin to overcome deficiency. Depending upon the extent of insufficiency, dose will be determined.
The current guidelines suggest a routine vitamin D supplementation programme starting from neonatal period extending right through the childhood into adolescence.
- Neonates (0 to 12 months): 400 to 1,000 IUs per day
- Children one year of age and above: 600 to 1,000 IUs per day
- Adults: 1,500 to 2,000 IUs per day
Remember that, with vitamin D deficiency there is much at stake since low vitamin D levels increase your risk of contracting infections, developing osteoporosis, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer . So better be aware and alert.
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