By Siddhi Jain
A blood test can determine whether you are deficient in any vitamins or not. Many people self-medicate or take dietary supplements for vitamin deficiencies. A study conducted by Pune-based Apollo Diagnostic has ruled out deficiency of vitamin D and B12 increasing with age and finds that blood tests and doctors consultation are required for taking a proper dose and avoiding risks.
To understand the prevalence of Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies in people, Apollo Diagnostic, Pune conducted a study by taking blood samples of 3,000 adult patients who came for a blood test in the last six months, in which 1673 were males and 1327 were females aged between 20-60 years. It revealed that about 70 percent of patients were with Vitamin D deficiency and 53 percent lacked Vitamin B12. Almost 15 percent of patients were taking self-dietary supplements for vitamin.
While sunlight and fortified foods are two possible sources of vitamin D, due to the change in lifestyle and food habits, many people take dietary supplements to get adequate levels of this vitamin. A doctor may recommend a lower or higher dose for you, depending on health conditions or the level of vitamin D in your blood.
As per Dr Sanjay Ingle, Zonal Pathologist, and Technical Head West India, Apollo Diagnostic, “Mild to moderate vitamin D deficiency is identified as a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, due to its protective role against the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus and its complications. It increases insulin resistance and reducing insulin secretion from beta cells of the pancreas. Vitamin D deficiency has been consistently associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, low bone density, fractures, osteoporosis, and hypertension. Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to memory loss, depression, muscle weakness, tingling, and numbness.”
“Vitamin D and B12 deficiencies often remain undiagnosed or are undertreated as many people avoid proper investigation for vitamin deficiency and start self-supplement without recommendations from experts. Vitamin D and B12 are important for skeletal and non skeletal health. The recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin B12 is over 14 is 2.4 mcg. Eating fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs, and getting enough of the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ is the key formula to stay fit and fine throughout life,” Dr Ingle added
Dr Anand Kavi, Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeon, Apollo Spectra Pune says, “Vitamin D also called as Sunshine Vitamin and as it is necessary for mineralization and maintenance of our bones, its deficiency can result in soft bones in children, and fragile and misshapen bones in adults. In the past decade, research has shown it is also important for several other bodily functions and it can prevent some cancers, boost immunity, and help control diabetes and hypertension. Though our country has abundant sunlight, nearly 70 to 80 percent of people are found to be Vitamin D deficient due to changing lifestyle and staying indoors, with vague complaints of muscle pain and fatigue. It is necessary to diagnose and correct Vitamin D deficiency via a qualified medical professional.”
Dr. Kavi added, “Similarly Vitamin B12 deficiency is also observed in people on vegan diets and those not consuming eggs or dairy products, it is also found low with patients with absorption problems or those taking medicines for acidity. Its deficiency can cause irritability, depression, disturbed vision, and dysfunction of nerves, it being a water-soluble vitamin it is not stored in our body and needs regular supplementation, the route of administration can be oral or by injections and is best decided by your doctor after proper diagnosis and tests.”
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected])