Duabi, UAE: Vitamin D deficiency will make your bones brittle and turn you lethargic, but lack of it will not kill you, doctors in Dubai said, refuting a Swedish study.
According to the study done by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the death rate increased two-fold among people who avoid sun exposure as compared to those with the “highest sun exposure habits”.
It was thought that lack of vitamin D could be to blame. Vitamin D is created in the body through exposure to sunshine and a deficiency is known to increase the risk of diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and rickets, the study suggested.,
Both the extremes, the phobia about the sun among Asians and Arabs, and the obsession with sunbathing among Caucasians, was unhealthy, said Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir, medical director and specialist dermatologist at Dermacare Skin Centre, while questioning the veracity of the study.
He said Asians fear the sun because they believe it would ruin their complexion.
The doctor said the darkness of the skin due to exposure of the sun is not permanent.
The doctor said about 60 per cent of the UAE population is deficient in Vitamin D.
People do not step out into the sun as they are tied to their office desks from morning to evening, he said.
It is ironic that the UAE which has 365 days of sunshine has a large population that has a vitamin D deficiency.
But the new research, which followed nearly 30,000 women over 20 years, suggests that women who stay out of the sun are at increased risk of skin melanomas and are twice as likely to die from any cause, including cancer.
“The results of this study clearly showed that mortality was about double in women who avoided sun exposure compared to the highest exposure group,” said lead author Dr Pelle Lindqvist.
“Sun exposure advice which is very restrictive in countries with low solar intensity might in fact be harmful for women’s health.
Dr Waseem Raja, specialist rheumatologist at American Hospital in Dubai, also said the study made some sweeping statements and does not say what was mean age of the study group.
He said whites should be careful not to overexpose their skin in the sun as their skin is more sensitive and can readily absorb the harmful rays.
The doctor said Asians need to expose their skin to the sun for about 30 minutes every day. He said the upper arms and legs and the back should be exposed to the sun, which is about 30 per cent of the skin, he said.
Vitamin D is created in the body through exposure to sunshine and a deficiency is known to increase the risk of diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis and rickets.
Dr Al Nasir that in extreme cases of vitamin D deficiency it was found that it affected the heart muscles of certain group of people.
The development of diabetes is due to various factors such as genetics and the lifestyle of the patients.
The doctor said he has noticed the number of skin cancer cases increasing in his clinic.
“But that could be because of the number of people increasing, “ he said.
© Gulf NewsJul 2014