28 February 2008

Research encourages UAE residents to be ‘D-healthy’

February 23 - March 07, 2008
Issue 43

In a research on Vitamin D deficiency in Arab women and children: It is Time for Action, Dr. Hussein Saadi, Associate Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences at the UAE University, found out that Arabian women and children have low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D brought by their lifestyle and dress code, causing insufficient sunlight exposure.

“Many Arabian women live in modern air-conditioned flats and those living in traditional houses maintain a very modest dress code when they are in the courtyard thus limiting sunlight exposure,” stated Saadi in his research with Dr. Adekunle Dawodu of the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, USA.

To this, Saadi recommended a daily oral intake of 800 IU of Vitamin D in Arabian women and 400 IU of Vitamin D in children to prevent rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, secondary hyperparathyroidism, hypertension, autoimmune disorders and cancer.

Calciferol, or what is commonly known as Vitamin D, is a fat-soluble vitamin mostly synthesized in the skin after exposure to sunlight. Eating foods rich in this nutrient, such as fatty fish and fish oils, can also decrease the prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in Arab mothers and infants.

In addition to adequate vitamin D intake, lifelong intake of adequate calcium is also necessary to maintain bone and general health. The best source of calcium is food, principally dairy products. All adults should receive at least 1,000 mg/day of elemental calcium. In a study of 185 healthy young UAE women almost a quarter of the subjects consumed less than 500 mg/day of calcium. Calcium supplements should be used when an adequate dietary intake cannot be achieved,” said Saadi.

Researchers from the University of Western Sydney also revealed that people ages 50 and above who take calcium supplements suffer fewer fractures and bone loss as well as and enjoy a better quality of life. But having a regular dose of 1200mg of calcium and 800 IU of Vitamin D can reduce the risk of bone fracture more and provide the ‘best therapeutic effect.’

“Taking calcium supplements is similar to superannuation insurance payments where small regular contributions build to much larger pay offs years down the track. This study shows the importance of starting supplements early in life, when bone mineral loss begins to accelerate,” Rany Victor, Senior Brand Manager of Novartis Consumer Health, was noted saying.

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