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British-South Asian Communities to have Extreme Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is highly common in most people but certain ethnic groups experience more deficiency as compared to others. In the British-South Asian population, nearly 20% of people in their middle ages suffer from low vitamin D levels.

This new study is published in the journal British Journal of Nutrition reports.

Low levels of vitamin D3 induce various problems especially related to bone health and dental issues. It could lead to osteomalacia, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and others.

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Vitamin D is necessary to regulate calcium and phosphate content inside the body which eventually ensure good bone health. A deficiency of this vitamin is linked with high blood pressure, heart diseases, respiratory diseases, and even cancer.

It is the biggest study of this type conducted by the research team from the University of Surrey. The data analyzed in this study was obtained from UL Biobank evaluating the vitamin D levels in people originated from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The age group from which these people were picked was between 40 to 69 years old who were living in the UK.

The results showed that 20% of these British-South Asian populations had severe vitamin D deficiency and 50% of them had low levels of vitamin D. The community most affected by this deficiency was British Pakistani.

Dr. Andrea Darling is the lead author and principal investigator in this study. She says that having such low vitamin D levels means that this population is at high risk of developing bone-related disorders. However, it doesn’t mean that there is no way to fix it.

Certain dietary changes and using the supplement form of vitamin D along with exposure to sunlight can change these levels and save these people from complications. She also discusses that public health authorities should play their role in educating the general public about paying attention to their vitamin D intake.

This study also identified certain factors that may affect vitamin D levels in the entire community. One factor is the geographical position and the BMI of these people. The vitamin levels vary as per different locations. For example, the South Asian community living in Scotland had lower levels similar to those in Northern England and Wales. But people living in London and the parts of the South East showed a little higher vitamin D levels as compared to the rest.

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The body mass index (BMI) was considered as a factor involved in vitamin D levels. People who were overweight more likely to be Vit D deficient and obese patients had the lowest levels reported. It shows that weight-related issues are common in Pakistani, Indian, and Bangladeshi communities living in the UK.

Sue Lanham-New is the head chair of the Department of Nutritional Science, University of Surrey. She says that this finding is helpful to determine the risk factors for South Asians living in the UK which are obese, overweight, or follow poor dietary habits.

This study identifies the biggest risk group for diseases associated with vitamin deficiency especially low levels of vitamin D. However, the public centered campaigns can effectively give a message to these communities for improving their diet and get timely treatment to cover the deficiency.


Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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