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Vitamin deficiency widespread among healthy looking urban Indians

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    4th Apr, 2019
  • Scientists from Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) conducted a study on 270 apparently healthy adults (147 men and 123 women) between 30 and 70 years of age to check their vitamin levels.
  • Blood levels of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, B12, folate and D) and homocysteine were assessed.
  • Study revealed that a large number of healthy looking urban Indians are suffering from vitamin deficiency.

Context

  • Scientists from Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) conducted a study on 270 apparently healthy adults (147 men and 123 women) between 30 and 70 years of age to check their vitamin levels.
  • Blood levels of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, B12, folate and D) and homocysteine were assessed.
  • Study revealed that a large number of healthy looking urban Indians are suffering from vitamin deficiency.

About

  • Vitamins are micronutrients essential for normal cellular and molecular functions, growth and maintenance of body tissues.
  • The study has revealed that half the people had vitamin B2 deficiency followed by vitamin B6 deficiency (46 per cent).
  • These results are very important as it shifts the focus to the serious consequences of vitamin B2 deficiency, which has largely been ignored till date.
  • The study showed that food people consume was only catering for a small amount of the actual requirement of vitamins. Deficiencies mainly result from inadequate diet.
  • The very high dietary inadequacy of vitamin B12 (96%) and folate (91%) observed in the study was a matter of concern. The high dietary inadequacy of vitamin B2 (71%) could be the result of milling of rice and wheat as riboflavin present in the germ and barn of grains is lost.

Key Facts:-

 Vitamin B1 or thiamine deficiency results in dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and metabolic diseases.

  • Vitamin B2 or riboflavin deficiency is associated with nerve-related diseases, anemia and heart diseases.
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with failure of higher brain functions, fits, cancer, migraine, chronic pain, heart involvement, low immunity and depression
  • Vitamin B12 and A deficiency can also have serious consequences, the scientists have cautioned.

Significance

  • This study provides first-hand information to researchers, medical professionals and policy makers regarding the magnitude of the prevailing situation.
  • Since the Urban population constitutes main workforce, deficiency of micronutrients can have implications on their productivity.
  • The major component of an Indian diet consists of cereal/pulse-based foods. Less consumption of foods rich in vitamins such as vegetables, fruits and dairy products results in deficiencies.
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