90 per cent of UAE residents have a vitamin D deficiency. Here's how you can avoid it

It’s time we saw the light (literally)
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90 per cent of UAE residents have a vitamin D deficiency. Here's how you can avoid it

There are plenty of things that spring to mind when we think of Dubai - breathtaking beaches; neck-achingly high skylines; that one almost Jurassic-looking viral video of camels caught in a sandstorm (just us?). A vitamin D deficiency, however, is the last thing to cross our minds.

Well, according to a recent study conducted by the Dubai Health Authority, around 90 per cent of the population in our eternally-sunny city is vitamin D-deficient. While shocking at first, that statistic starts to make a lot of sense when we think about the scorching temperatures and how for many months, the only time we’re in the sun is that frantic 30-second half-jog we do from our cars to our front doors (lest we melt, of course).

As it may not be possible to just go gadding about in the sunshine, we’ve put together some other ways you can secure some much-needed vitamin D.

But first - why do you need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a mineral which helps regulate the levels of calcium and phosphate in your body. As such, it is crucial for keeping teeth, bones and muscles healthy. It is also needed in every immune cell, meaning it plays a large role in efficient immune system functionality.

Those with vitamin D deficiencies may not only experience bone deformities and weight fluctuation, but also suffer from low mood, headaches and fatigue. Eek.

How to get more vitamin D

Alter your diet

A good way to access vitamin D is through our diet, so it's worth incorporating certain foods into your meals. Salmon, milk, eggs and mushrooms are touted for their high levels of the hero mineral. Your new diet should always be supplemented by other methods of becoming vitamin D sufficient, as eating your way out of deficiency can be challenging (unless you live on a hearty diet of cod liver oil).

Take supplements

If a visit to the doctor’s has revealed true vitamin D deficiency, adding supplemental pills or liquid drops to your vitamin regimen is great for getting your levels under control. It is recommended that most people aim for a 600 IU intake per day, while older adults are recommended to have 800 IU per day. That said, make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions as taking too much vitamin D can be problematic, too.

Get a UV lamp

UV lamps are particularly helpful in boosting vitamin D, so much so that individuals with medical conditions that inhibit their vitamin D absorption swear by them. Now, before you go over-zealously frying your skin under a lightbulb, it is vital to limit your exposure to around 20 - 60 seconds every other day, as prolonged exposure can be damaging to the skin.

Try to get some sunlight

The most effective source of vitamin D is sunlight, but that doesn’t mean you should be submitting yourself to sunburns and heatstrokes. Exposing ten per cent of your body’s surface area, such as your arms and face, to ten minutes of sun a day will give you all the vitamin D you need.

Photos: Instagram and Unsplash