Vitamin D deficiency in UAE
Over 90 per cent of the UAE population is Vitamin D-deficient and the food industry is now being asked to fortify juices, milk and other dairy products with the vitamin.
Following the two-year ongoing Vitamin D study being conducted in collaboration with Professor Michael Holick, an American endocrinologist and celebrated authority on Vitamin D deficiency, the DHA has now started a 22-week food education programme in nurseries to train parents on how to provide balanced nutrition to their children.
Alerting to the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency, Professor Holick told Gulf News: “Vitamin D deficiency is a major health issue around the world and adults require to have 2,000 units of Vitamin D per day. Pregnant women who have a Vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk of pre-eclampsia and premature delivery. Studies also indicate that women born to Vitamin D-deficient women can suffer from conditions such as schizophrenia, asthma and some forms of development disorders. Children from the age of one year up to their teenage years require 600-1,000 units of Vitamin D per day. If a person is obese, he or she requires two to three times the stipulated amount of Vitamin D.
“It is also indicated that if a child is deficient in Vitamin D for the first 10 years of life, he or she is likely to suffer from multiple sclerosis and has an 88 per cent risk of developing Type I diabetes or 33 per cent risk of Type II diabetes.”
Ayesh added that making simple changes to one’s lifestyle could help replenish Vitamin D. “In the UAE, absorption of Vitamin D is possible in sunlight only from 10am to 3pm. People need to expose nearly 40 per cent of their skin, avoid wearing a sunscreen and face sunlight for 30 minutes in a day within these hours. Those with lighter skin can do with exposure for just 15 minutes. Having 12 almonds a day can help you replenish your Vitamin D reserves. Those with severe Vitamin D deficiency might require injections or supplements that are also fortified with magnesium as this micro nutrient helps in better absorption of Vitamin D.”
Vitamin D facts
*Best time to absorb sun: 10am-3pm
*40% of skin surface needs to be exposed to sun
*Face sunlight for 30 minutes
*Lighter-skinned individuals can do a 15-minute sun absorption
*Eat 12 almonds a day