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Healthcare experts recently gathered in Abu Dhabi to discuss the impact of vitamin D deficiency on human health while highlighting the need for the regular screening of vitamin D levels among people of all age groups, to ensure the early detection of vitamin D deficiency. Several recent studies have associated the condition with a number of diseases, ranging from bone and muscle weakness to infertility, cancer and heart disease.

During the two-day Abu Dhabi Annual International Conference on vitamin D Deficiency and Human Health, experts presented several studies that highlighted the link between vitamin D deficiency with many serious diseases. They included psychoneurotic disorders and several types of cancer, as well as most bowel diseases and diabetic retinopathy. Researchers added that the treatment of these diseases will not be effective unless the patient’s vitamin D deficiency is corrected.

Dr Muhammad Wasif Alam, Director of the Public Health and Safety Department at the Dubai Health Authority, stated that there are now innumerable experimental, epidemiological,  immunological, genetic and clinical arguments in support of the notion that vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is linked not only to bone fractures, osteoporosis and rickets but is also associated with other conditions. These include muscle weakness,  depression, dementia, infections, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. Vitamin D receptors have been found in almost every type of human cell from the brain to our bones, he added. 

Regular screening

“So one thing is certain, individuals need to be aware of the risk of vitamin D and they need to screen themselves regularly so that they can take corrective measures to ensure they maintain adequate levels of vitamin D,” Dr Alam, concluded. “It is really very simple to correct your level of vitamin D.”

He further added that the natural diet that most humans consume contain little vitamin D except for fatty fish and some vitamin-D-fortified food available in the market. It is therefore important that we read the food label to see if it contains sufficient amounts of vitamin D. “Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D and if we expose only 20 per cent of our body to UVB light for just 20 minutes a day, we may achieve sufficient levels of vitamin D in our blood.  Rolling down your car window glass while driving every day may be a wise way”, he advised.