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Vitamin- D and it’s significance

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Vitamin- D and it’s significance

Context:

There have been considerable discussions in scientific circles on the importance of vitamin D in these days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 Insta Concepts:

How is Vitamin D produced?

It is produced when sunlight (or artificial light, particularly in the ultraviolet region of 190-400 nm wavelength) falls on the skin and triggers a chemical reaction to a cholesterol-based molecule, and converts it into calcidiol in the liver and into calcitriol in the kidney.

  • Vitamin D is fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that it dissolves in fats and oils and can be stored in your body for a long time.

Its role:

It is known to help in having the right amount of calcium in the bones, catalyse the process of protecting cell membranes from damage, preventing the inflammation of tissues and helping stop tissues from forming fibres and weakening bones from becoming brittle, leading to osteoporosis.

Concerns now:

Vitamin D deficiency can affect COVID-19 high-risk patients, particularly those who are diabetic, have heart conditions, pneumonia, obesity and those who smoke.

It is also associated with infections in the respiratory tract and lung injury.

Need for supplementation:

According to a study, India, a nation of abundant sunshine, is surprisingly found to have a massive burden of vitamin D deficiency among the public irrespective of their location (urban or rural), age or gender, or whether they are poor or even rich. Hence, it is clear that vitamin D supplementation is necessary for most Indians to treat its deficiency.

What needs to be done?

Given the deficit in vitamin D, it is highly desirable for the governments to:

  • consult nutrition experts and institutions to advise and suggest the type of nutritive items that can be added to the current ‘ration’ food given to the poor, and the meals given to school children.
  • in any case, supply free of charge, vitamin D, other vitamins and calcium, in consultation with medical and public health experts regarding the dosage, frequency and other details.

With these steps, India will have armed its poor against not just the current, but future pandemics as well.

vitamin_d

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. How is Vitamin D produced in human body?
  2. Functions of Vitamin D.
  3. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency.
  4. Examples of fat-soluble vitamins.
  5. Calcidiol and Calcitriol are related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss the role and significance of Vitamin D.

Sources: the Hindu.