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HomeHealthcareVITAMIN D IS 'CRUCIAL' FOR IMMUNITY

VITAMIN D IS ‘CRUCIAL’ FOR IMMUNITY

Dr. Vivek Dixit is a Research Scientist, Grade III at Dept. of Orthopaedics, @AIIMS, New Delhi and has more than 18 years of teaching/research experience. Dr. Dixit has visited several countries for research and has many prestigious awards to credit both in academic & social repute including 3 national awards. He has been awarded by Hon’ble Vice President of India in 2020. He has also received AWSAR-DST award in 2021. Dr. Dixit has done M.Sc & M,Phill in Microbiology and Ph.D in endocrinology & metabolism. He has perused post-doctoral fellowship on age-related metabolic bone diseases from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Here is an exclusive interview on his recent research on vitamin D with The Interview World.

#1. You have done a voluminous and veritable research on the role of vitamin D on human health. Could you please elaborate the implications of vitamin D deficiency in human?

#VitaminD is both a nutrient and hormone that provides a wide range of health benefits to human. If you look at the India sub-continent, vitamin D deficiency is all pervading across urban and rural population with a prevalence rate 70-100%. Vitamin D deficiency should not be undermined as it leads to rickets, osteomalacia, and steoporosis. Vitamin D also plays a pivotal role in cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and infectious disease such as tuberculosis.

#2. India being a sunny country, what does influence such high rate of vitamin D deficiency occurrence?

Most part of India is above the latitude 35 ◦N. because of this geographical location, sun rays come obliquely. Moreover, dense fog and atmospheric pollution leads to a limited availability of #UVB rays. The other reasons to this problem are numerous including higher melanin content in skin, environmental factors including latitude and altitude, clothing pattern, food habits, and genetic factors.

#3. Is there a correlation between vitamin D deficient and viral infections in winter?   

Most of the flu infections are noticed during winter months. This climate associated vitamin D deficiency may negatively affect the immunity and therefore increasing the risk of developing viral infections. There are evidences that adequate levels of vitamin D during the winter can result in a reduction in the incidence of influenza A and other viral illnesses of the respiratory tract.

#4. Your recent research suggests that vitamin D plays a major in lower infection from COVID-19. Could you please enlighten us on this?

Population with optimal levels of vitamin D not only helps reduce the risk of getting infection from COVID-19 but also provides with empowered immunity, resulting in reduced fatality rate. We also believe that if there would have not been vitamin D deficiency among population, the chance of mortalities would have been less as of now. Moreover, optimal levels of vitamin D may also help to fight against other infectious pathogens other than COVID-19, limiting the comorbidities. We conclude that vitamin D may have a role in the management of ongoing COVID-19 through immunity modulation.

#5. What’s the clinical prescription for vitamin D deficient people?

In clinical practice, a dose of 60,000 IU/week initially for 8 weeks and then limiting for once a month is commonly seen as prophylactic doses schedule in populations to acquire optimal vitamin D. Recent studies suggest that the vitamin D intake to attain a desired serum 25(OH) D status requires a dose of 4000 units/day. However, a maintenance dose averaging 2000 IU/day can meet the current guidelines and is well below safer upper limits.

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