By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)
The human body needs various kinds of vitamins. One of them is vitamin D. Vitamin D has a special character. It has vitamin and hormones roles. Our body is able to produce its own vitamin D, while with other kinds of vitamins, we need to get it from food. Kidney is the organ producing vitamin D. This vitamin D is being activated in the skin by ultraviolet.
How does vitamin D deficiency happen?
- Kidney Problem. Kidney condition affects vitamin D production.
- Lack of sunshine. Asians usually avoid sunbathing to avoid freckles and wrinkles. When is the ideal time for sunbathing? 30 minutes under direct morning sun is enough for vitamin D production.
- 30-40% Asians genetically have vitamin D deficiency. Even though people who live at the tropical region most probably have enough sun exposure, nevertheless, a lot of them still suffer from vitamin D deficiency. In this case, it will useless to get more sun exposure. Food and supplementation are another ways to increase the vitamin D level.
Food rich in vitamin D:
- Fish such as tuna, salmon, and cod
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt
It is hard to measure how much amount of vitamin D we take from food, therefore vitamin D supplement is more comfortable and easier to monitor daily dosage.
Vitamin D deficiency is a silent disease. It does not show any symptoms and is usually detected after screening.
Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.