Many people in Dubai suffer from a chronic lack of vitamin D. Now, this may seem absurd in a country that enjoys roughly 10 hours of sunlight in December and 13 hours in June, but according to recent research, this lack of vitamin D has long term health implications.
In 2015, the largest study on adolescent health amongst Saudis found a surprisingly high level of vitamin D deficiencies amongst adolescents. In a study of over 12,000 adolescents across Saudi Arabia, researchers concluded that 96% had vitamin D levels of less than 20 ng/ml (50 nmol.
That’s just adolescents. What’s clear is that despite long hours of daily sunlight, Saudis of all ages are not getting the daily benefits that sunlight offers.
According to traditional Muslim religious practices, women are asked by the Koran to preserve their modesty. Their clothing reflects the holy teachings. Women are asked to preserve their beauty for their husbands and immediate family members. By wearing a Hijab or Burqa, women are merely observing their religious practices.
However, the medical community believes that Islamic Burqas and Hijabs can prevent Islamic women’s bodies from absorbing necessary UV sunlight and getting enough vitamin D.
Why Vitamin D is Essential to Health and Well-Being
Vitamin D (sometimes referred to ask sunshine vitamin) can be absorbed into the body through exposure to UV sunshine or ingested in food or supplements. An appropriate amount of vitamin D helps to control the amount of calcium and phosphate nutrients required to maintain healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
A chronic lack of vitamin D can have serious health repercussions health. Bone deformities, such as rickets, can develop from a very early age. If left untreated, rickets can escalate in adulthood resulting in severe pain that is caused by a condition called osteomalacia.
Low vitamin D levels are also thought to contribute to a whole host of medical disorders. From cardiovascular diseases to Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even the increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Vitamin D Supplements
A healthy diet – one that’s rich in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and tuna, egg yolks and even breakfast cereals provides the body with essential vitamin D. However, diet shouldn’t be our one and only source of vitamin D.
Did you know that your body requires both vitamin D2 and D3? Many foods such as cereals and orange juice are rich in vitamin D. However, you can never get enough of what’s good for you. Therefore, taking vitamin D supplements is a great idea.
A quick chat to your local doctors can help you no end. They’ll listen to your health and symptoms you’re experiencing, allaying any concerns you may have, before advising you of the best course of action. Vitamin D tablets are readily available and, after a short course, you should notice an enhanced spring in your step!
So, should Saudis be taking supplements? The short answer is, yes. Vitamin D supplements provide our bodies with a natural defence against the threat of disease and illness, supporting the immune system.
In less than two weeks, our body’s ability to absorb stored vitamin D is completely lost, meaning that a mere fortnight away from the sun can see vitamin D levels dip to the extent that to maintain healthy bodily function, vitamin D supplements aren’t just advised – they’re highly recommended to maintain a healthy and prosperous life.
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