‘Sunlight enough, no need of vitamin-D drive’ – Economic Times
The study was published recently in the Journal of Bone Mineral Metabolism. The lead author, Prof Ravinder Goswami of the endocrinology department, told TOI that the study was important to bust the myth that vitamin D deficiency was prevalent. “This impression has been created because most of the studies have concentrated on urban Indians living indoors or engaged in indoor work. Large areas of the country remain unmapped for prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. Universal supplementation cannot be based on limited studies done in a few urban pockets,” explained Dr Goswami.
The study tried to assess the possibility of attaining vitamin D sufficiency with sun exposure alone in the urban setting of Delhi by studying three different categories of people over three months. The subjects were outdoor workers or construction wor- kers engaged in building mai- nly the roof of a multi-storeyed building, mixed workers or those who moved in and out of buildings for their work such as mess workers and construction workers involved in plastering of walls inside the building; and students, lab workers and office staff, who were categorised as indoor workers.
The study took into account age, body mass index (BMI), dietary calcium and calorie intake and sun exposure as independent variables while drawing conclusions. Sun exposure was found to be the only significant variable between the various groups, determining their ability to make sufficient vitamin D.
It was found that the outdoor workers were able to achieve sufficient levels of vitamin D, similar to the levels achieved by indoor workers given supplements during an earlier study done by Dr Goswami.
Thus the current study showed that the deficiency in Indians is not due to the phenomenon of skin pigmentation (or darkening of skin) in sunny environments impeding the making of vitamin D. It added that the deficiency was one that could be overcome by sufficient sun exposure.