~ Smriti Jha
It is not just bone that requires vitamin D for normal function, but nearly all other tissues as well, particularly blood vessels and the immune system.
Our body needs vitamin D to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, which keeps the bones stronger. This further protects us against the risk of diseases like osteoporosis and other bone-related threats. Vitamin D also helps bolster and regulate the immune system by clearing bacteria.
How much is ‘this much’ you need
The 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need. Sounds simple to read but, it is really hard to manage; especially for the modern workforce.
You are affected by the season, the place where you live, your working hours, and of course, the pollution affects the amount of UVB that reaches our skin. Not to forget, our skin’s production of vitamin D is influenced by age too- people ages 65 and over generate only one-fourth as much as people in their 20s do.
Despite the numerous studies about the association between vitamin D and different health outcomes, there are still controversies defining the adequate vitamin D status, the daily intake needed and the potential adverse health consequences of its deficiency ~ World Health Organization.
Who are at risk?
Studies say that Indoor employees have two-thirds of the vitamin D level seen as compare to outdoor employees. This is because they see the sun when its rays are less intense, and so their skin is less able to naturally produce the vitamin. How many workplaces allow employees to take a burst of quick sunshine? Would this be included as a benefits package ever? This is an ongoing raised concern.
The expecting or pregnant working women and the elderly are most vulnerable to a lack of vitamin D. The study review warns that deficiency in early adulthood can dwindle the bone density and may lead to a greater danger of developing osteoporosis in later life.
Low-level risk of Vitamin D
In recent years, we have got several research studies that reveal the associations between low levels of vitamin D and increased risk of diseases. Although the awareness about its importance for health has been spread widely, corporate employees, still, are not getting any convincing medical help or assistance on this. A small step for wellness could be a miracle for the health of indoor employees or those who work in undefined shift, and that too, for extended hours.
Types, sources, and supplements
There are two major types of vitamin D. The first is vitamin D3, which is available in animal sources like oily fish. Also, it is the kind, the skin makes when exposed to sunlight. The second form is vitamin D2. This comes from plant-based foods like mushrooms, fortified cereals, and milk. However, studies have confirmed that D3 is more effective- a reason why people are looking for supplements.
Apart from oily fish, vitamin D is hard to find in the average diet. And, it’s almost tough for vegetarians. The best thing is the presence of UB-B rays, our skin can produce its own from the cholesterol called 7 dehydrocholesterol. Expert says that production within the body from solar ultraviolet radiation makes up 90 percent of the vitamin in a healthy body.
The supplement vitamin D2 and D3 are available over-the-counter at a pharmacy. People are taking without a prescription too. These supplements have been linked to improving immunity, tiredness, bone and muscle pain. They’ve also been claimed to help stave off cancer and the consequences of aging.
For nutritionally challenged people
Those who are suffering from Crohn’s disease or celiac disease, have trouble absorbing dietary fat. Also, the people with liver and kidney disease are often deficient in vitamin D. These are the organs which required to make the vitamin- the active form of Vitamin D, whether it comes from the sun or from food.
It’s important to promote a culture of leading and honestly dealing with workplace health issues.
Contribute: Do write to us about any wellness program in your company that has led to noticeable gains for your employees, at firstname.lastname@example.org