Vitamin deficiency high among urban adults, says NIN study

Topic in News

  • Vitamin deficiency in urban populace

 

News Summary

  • According to a study by National Institute of Nutrition, the urban population of India is suffering from micronutrient deficiency in general and vitamin deficiency in particular.
  • The study was based on
  1. Measuring major vitamin levels in blood samples
  2. Dietary habits of urban population

 

Key Results

Vitamin deficiency in blood samples

  • The study of vitamin levels in the blood samples indicated the deficiencies of following vitamins in proportion of the population.
    • Vitamin B2 deficiency in 50% population
    • Vitamin B6 deficiency in 46% population
    • Vitamin B12 deficiency in 46% population
    • Folate deficiency in 32% population
    • Vitamin D deficiency in 29% population

 

Vitamin deficiency in dietary habits

  • The nutrient deficiency was found in the diets of 72% of the study population.
  • The nutrient deficiency in diets indicated 2 factors:
  1. Bad diet deficient in vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B6, B12 and folate
  2. Prevalence of high level of homocysteine in 52% of the study population
  • While the dietary deficiency was found high in women, homocysteine levels were high among men. Homocysteine is a substance present in blood that is related to non-communicable diseases.

 

Challenges

Awareness

  • The urban population does not get its vitamin levels screened leading to lack of awareness.
  • Also, many of the people are unaware about healthy food habits.

Skewed attention

  • Vitamins that generally get the attention include folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. As a result other vitamins are neglected in the diet.
  • The vitamin deficiency do not get adequate attention as the effects are undetectable unless severe

 

About Vitamins

  • Vitamins are the necessary micronutrients required by the body in small amounts.
  • They are necessary to run the biochemical processes of body.
  • They also help in maintenance of the structure of skin, bone, nerves, eye, brain, blood, mucous membrane etc.
  • They must be present in the diet as they cannot be synthesized in the body.

Types of Vitamins

  • Vitamins are 2 types:
    • Fat-soluble vitamins are vitamins A, D, E and K.
    • Water-soluble vitamins include vitamin C, and vitamin B-complex.

  • Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in the body while water-soluble vitamins are not and get easily excreted in urine
  • Vitamins are generally found in green leafy vegetables, milk and fresh fruits.

 

Fat Soluble vitamins

Vitamin A

Source

  • Beta-carotene is the precursor of Vitamin A
  • Carotenoids are commonly found in fruits and vegetables that are green, yellow or orange in colour.
  • Sources include green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, papaya, mango etc.
  • Breast milk is a good source of vitamin A.

Function

  • Vitamin A helps in clear vision in dim light.
  • It also protects epithelial tissues and maintains resistance to common infections

Vitamin D

Source

  • Human skin makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.
  • Fish, dairy products, egg yolk etc are good source of vitamin D.

Function

  • Vitamin D primarily helps in calcium absorption.
  • It also helps in contraction of cells.

Vitamin E

Source

  • Nuts like almond, peanuts etc and vegetable oil

Function

  • Primarily function as antioxidant which means protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Vitamin K

Source

  • Leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils, eggs, milk etc

Function

  • Primarily helps in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels.

 

Water-soluble vitamins

Vitamin C

Source

  • Rich in fruits like amla, guava, banana and citrus fruits.
  • Note: Milk does not have Vitamin C.

Function

  • Vitamin C promotes iron absorbption.
  • It is essential for healthy bones and teeth.

 

Vitamin Name Deficiency disorder
Vitamin A Night Blindness
Vitamin D Rickets, reduced bone density
Vitamin C Scurvy, bleeding of gums
Vitamin B1 – Thiamine Beri-Beri
Vitamin B2- Riboflavin Cracks on skin, lips and tongue
Vitamin B5- Niacin Pellagra characterised by diarrhoea, dermatitis and dementia.

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