Back to School : ABCs of Vitamin D



With today’s indoor lifestyles, Vitamin D is a known nutrient deficiency among adults, particularly in the Gulf region where people limit their exposure to the sun. This includes children who are not getting enough Vitamin D either, because of more time spent indoors.

At Emirates Hospitals & Clinics, we are committed to providing cost-effective, quality care that impacts the public interest through our investment in people and technologies. This includes education on subjects like Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps deliver calcium to the bones. It prevents weakened bones and fractures caused by rickets in children and a similar disease called osteomalacia, in adults. It also helps the immune system by preventing certain cancers, Asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, Depression, Type II Diabetes, High blood pressure, Multiple sclerosis, and more.

With school starting soon, here are the ABC’s of Vitamin D to help you know more about achieving optimal health and strong bones.

A. Vitamin D is unlike other Vitamins
Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D can’t be obtained by solely eating foods. Even consuming foods rich in Vitamin D, like salmon, sardines, egg yolk, tuna, mushrooms, fortified cereals, and cod liver oil, isn’t enough to meet requirements.

Dr. Anahita Kaul, General Practitioner for Emirates Hospitals & Clinics, says “Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is taken in the diet from fortified dairy products and fish oils or is synthesized in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol by ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, or sun rays. The Vitamin D produced by 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin depends on the intensity of UV irradiation. Sunscreen and clothing have been reported to prevent the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to Vitamin D3. In order to be biologically active and to have effects on numerous body functions including prevention of growth of cancer cells and protection against certain immune disorders, Vitamin D must be converted to its active form.”

B. Vitamin D Deficiency Affects the Majority of UAE
Anywhere from 70 to 90 percent of UAE residents are Vitamin D deficient. It’s estimated that one billion people are Vitamin D insufficient or deficient worldwide. Some researchers call Vitamin D deficiency an ignored global epidemic, noting that children at all life stages are impacted too. From birth to adulthood, children are missing out on sunlight or necessary Vitamin D supplements. Without Vitamin D, children are more prone to weak bones and poor school performance.

C. Vitamin D Absorption is a Personalized Process
Genetics play a role in the body’s ability to accept or suppress Vitamin D despite skin tone. That’s why diagnosis, preventive measures, and treatment for deficiencies is highly personalized for each individual. Likewise, people with dietary lifestyles that don’t include many fats or have problems absorbing fats are also at risk for Vitamin D deficiency.

“As a hands-on clinical practitioner, I have found that patients are best served by a holistic plan with regards to Vitamin D,” says Dr. Kaul. “Rarely, does one preventive treatment work because there are certain times of the year when being outside increases the risk of skin cancer. That’s when supplements or a combination of supplements and food are more ideal.”

D. It’s Possible to Take Too Much Vitamin D
The challenge with self-prescribed Vitamin D supplements is the possibility of toxicity or Hypervitaminosis D. This buildup of calcium in the blood causes fatigue, reduced appetite, nausea, and possibly other more serious kidney problems. A doctor’s supervision is always recommended.

Vitamin D Lessons Learned

A. Vitamin D is critical for everybody, including children. Get tested and evaluated by the best doctors in Dubai by calling 800 444 444 or booking an appointment online.
B. Work with your doctor on a plan of action for the right amount of Vitamin D for your body.
C. Follow your doctor’s advice on how to monitor Vitamin D levels on an ongoing basis.
D. If you are taking Vitamin D supplements and have adverse symptoms, contact your doctor right away.

With the right amount of Vitamin D, your health will be sunnier.

To learn more about the health precautions you should take, please feel free to contact Dr. Anahita Kaul, General Practioner, Emirates Hospital, Jumeirah at 800 444 444