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Do you often find yourself taking leave from work over your back pain? Well, it is one of the most common reasons people consult a doctor and miss work. Back pain can tamper with one’s daily routine and can be highly uncomfortable. Muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones together constitute the human back, they work in tandem to support the body and help us move around. Problems with either of these can affect your back adversely.

According to WHO, approximately 80% of the population suffers from back pain at least once during their lifetime. Back pain is one of the common problems seen in people across all age groups.

Back pain in women

But unlike men, there are a lot of changes that happen in a woman with age right from hormonal changes to menstruation and pregnancy that take a toll on the back. Whether you’re a working woman or a housewife, it goes without saying that every woman has a massive workload and long working hours both at the office and home which affects her overall health. However, the back and the spinal cord which are the pillars of the body are the ones that are most affected.
Take extra care of your health with Metropolis TruHealth Smart Women Health Package.

What are the possible causes of back pain ?

The most common cause of back pain is muscle strain and incorrect posture. Other causes include:

  • Long working hours while sitting in chairs and lack of exercise
  • Obesity · 
  • Poor posture: Often we don’t realize, but while sitting or working on computer screens, we tend to adopt a hunched back position, this results in back as well as shoulder pain later on.  
  • Muscle spasm, fractures, damaged disks (cushions between our bones in the spine)
  • Bulging or ruptured discs: Rupturing of a disc can cause extra pressure on a nerve, and press the nerve causing your back pain. Similarly, bulging discs can also put pressure on your nerves and lead to debilitating backaches.
  • Osteoporosis: When your bones become brittle, your spine’s vertebrae can develop small painful fractures.
  • Arthritis: Another major cause of back pain is spinal osteoarthritis, which is due to damage in the cartilage of joints in the lower back. Eventually, the space around the spinal cord starts to get narrower, leading to what is known as spinal stenosis.
    This could be another type of arthritis too. Book a test here and know if it can be rheumatoid arthritis.

Watch out for these symptoms !

A shooting pain anywhere on the back or a burning or stabbing sensation that sometimes runs down till your leg or the foot. If it is due to muscle strain, or posture, that pain is usually short-lived, maybe a few days or weeks. But if you suffer from back pain for more than 3 months, you should consult a doctor. Mostly the pain goes away with minor treatment, exercise, or self-care, but if the back pain is accompanied by fever, numbness in the legs, constant weakness, weight loss, or difficulty while urinating, you should seek immediate medical assistance.

Diagnosis for back pain

You have acute pain if the pain lasts for a few weeks, but if the pain is persistent, and lasts for more than 3 months, it is a chronic or long-term pain that needs medical supervision. Your doctor will examine and assess your back and if they suspect something, they might order one of the following tests-

  • X-ray: An X-ray is done to check the alignment of the bones, and help detect signs of broken bones or arthritis.
  • MRI or CT scans: Since X-rays don’t show any damages to the soft tissues, it is important to have an MRI done, to detect problems with blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and ligaments.
  • Blood tests: Though it is a rarity to order for blood tests, it can be helpful when you want to determine whether some infection is the cause of your back pain.
  • Bone scans: These scans are done to check if there is a bone tumor or compression fractures due to osteoporosis, basically performed to detect any sort of abnormalities in your bone tissue.
  • EMG (electromyography): It is a nerve study that measures the electrical impulses produced by nerves and how your muscles react to them.

Treatment of back pain

While for acute pain, pain relief medicines, and warm water heating can be sufficient, for chronic pain conditions, the doctor suggests medications like-

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  •  Topical pain relievers such as creams, ointments, sprays, or patches.
  • Muscle relaxants

Back pain can be a debilitating and life-changing condition. Hence, if you have a backache that is recurrent in nature or if your back pain fails to show any improvement even after taking sufficient rest, it is wise to consult a spine specialist.

Prevention is better than cure

Being a little careful and agile can go a long way in curtailing the risk of back pain. Here are a few tips you can follow, in order to ease that back pain.

Calcium and vitamin D for better muscle and bone health: Include calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Let your bones, muscles, and joints heal from severe back pain.
Check your calcium and vitamin D levels here.

Posture: Your posture while sitting as well as while standing can immensely impact your back. While sitting, always try to have your knees and hips leveled and keep your feet flat on the floor, if you use a keyboard, have your elbows at right angles and support your back, at the same time, when sitting for long hours. While standing, your back should always be straight, and you should balance your body weight evenly on both your feet.

Regular exercise: Flexibility training can help with back pain, a professional would be better able to guide you through exercises that will help build strength and keep your body weight in control as well.

Other precautions include wearing comfortable shoes, using a comfortable mattress, not smoking, and keeping your body weight in check.

With daily stretches, a proper diet, and maintaining correct postures, you can avoid and prevent back pain easily.

Your back endures a lot of wear & tear over the course of a lifetime- Take care of it!

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which can be produced by exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet B rays of the sun activate a protein in the skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC), which then is metabolized to the active form of vitamin D, which is vitamin D3. Dietary sources of vitamin D include egg yolk, milk, cheese, beef or calf liver and certain fish, certain cereals, soy milk, etc.

Vitamin D has a number of critical roles in your body. Among these, key functions include absorption of calcium that helps strengthen bones, efficient muscle movement, aids in nerve conduction to and from the brain. Besides, vitamin D is important for immunity as it helps regulate immune system to fight off invading pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

Vitamin D and viral infection

Various studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation helps in reducing the susceptibility of developing a flu by acting as a physical barrier against the infection, or through modulation of natural and/or adaptive immunity mechanisms to reduce the risk of infection.2 Research also supports the finding that low levels of vitamin D increases the risk of community acquired-pneumonia.

Get your vitamin D levels tested within the comfort of your home.

Association of vitamin D and COVID-19

The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), responsible for the COVID-19 disease, has been implicated in the deaths of over 3.5 million people globally.

Currently, there is no definite treatment available for this infection, hence, measures are being taken to discover aids that can help in reducing the risk of COVID-19. Moreover, owing to its high infectivity rate, the population also requires strategies that can limit progression and severity of COVID-19 infection.

A study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, revealed that over 80% of COVID-19 patients in a hospital exhibited vitamin D  deficiency. Therefore, the appropriate approach includes identification and treatment of vitamin D deficiency, particularly in high-risk individuals such as the elderly, patients with comorbidities, who are the main target population for the COVID-19.

Moreover, low levels of vitamin D are associated with 3.7-fold increase in the odds of dying from COVID-19 infection. Similar findings were seen in a Asian study that showed vitamin D insufficiency might compromise respiratory immune function, increasing the risk of severity and death rate in patients with COVID-19.

The most commonly encountered symptom in patients with COVID-19 is fever and dry cough, whereas severe forms of the disease can lead to the development of acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS). Researchers have found out that vast majority of COVID-19 ARDS patients had vitamin D deficiency, and these patients required longer mechanical ventilation and were associated with a higher death rate.

In addition to ARDS, heart failure is one of the fatal adverse outcomes of COVID-19. Studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation, because of its protective effect on cardiac muscle cells, can be beneficial by reducing the risk of heart disease in these patients. Besides, comorbidities like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity are considered as risk factors in increasing complications in people with COVID-19. Various studies have found strong correlation between deficiency of Vitamin D and increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity. Hence, the hypothesis suggests that its supplementation can decrease the likelihood of complications in patients infected with COVID-19.

Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency has been related to reduced immune function and may enhance the cytokine storm and its supplementation may reduce complications related to cytokine storm and uncontrolled inflammation in people with COVID-19.

Hence as per some experts, one of the management strategies for reducing severity and death rate in patients with COVID-19 should include normalization of vitamin D levels.

Beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19 patients

Numerous research have shown that having healthy levels of vitamin D can help keep your immune system healthy and may protect against respiratory illnesses.

Although there is currently no cure for COVID-19, studies have highlighted the importance of vitamin D supplements in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 complications.

Some of the evidence suggesting benefits of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19 are as follows:

  • It has been reported that a high dose of vitamin D could reduce the need for intensive care stays in patients infected with COVID-19.

  • Vitamin D supplementation was considered as a safe therapy, and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection.
  • An Indian study suggested that high dose of Vitamin D3 (60000 IU) supplementation for seven days helps in coronavirus clearance.
  • Although most older individuals, often have lower vitamin D levels and are most susceptible to COVID-19, a study showed that supplementation of vitamin D could decrease death rate in this group.

Make sure to take extra care of your elderly. Book an exclusive health package for seniors.

The general recommendation is to supplement people who do not belong to a risk group, are healthy with a recommended daily dose (800 IU).

In view of the positive effects of vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D-deficient patients with COVID-19, few practical recommendations are as follows:

  • Current public health guidelines for normalizing vitamin D status should always be followed
  • Vitamin D levels should be measured in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 and should be supplemented to a level >30ng/mL (optimal 40–60ng/mL), specifically when the baseline level is <10ng/mL
  • In Covid-19 patients with vitamin D levels under 20ng/mL, the recommended dose for correction of deficiency is 6000–7000 oral IU/ day for 6–8 weeks. For maintenance, the dose varies from 2000 to 3000 oral IU/day according to the age and clinical condition of the individual.

To summarize

Although India is a subtropical country with sufficient sunlight, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common. It is crucial for people to understand the importance of Vitamin D so that they can take relevant supplements to fill the gaps. Vitamin D will not prevent a patient from contracting the COVID-19 infection; however, it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.

It is hard to ascertain the most appropriate beneficial dose for COVID-19, it is evident that vitamin D deficiency is harmful, and can be easily addressed with implementation of low-cost and low-risk vitamin D supplementation. It is unclear how soon the majority of the population will receive vaccines, routine vitamin D supplementation to high-risk people such as the elderly, children, those who are malnourished, and those living in overcrowded environments can be a worthwhile exercise.

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Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential nutrient required for maintaining health and wellness. It is both a nutrient you eat and a hormone your body produces when exposed to sunlight. This fat-soluble vitamin is notably responsible for calcium absorption in the body, thus improving bone mineral density. It also regulates cellular growth and supports the immune and neuromuscular functions in the body. Some studies suggest that vitamin D can help control infections and alleviate inflammation. In addition, there are claims that vitamin D can play a role in protecting you from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and even depression.

Are you sure you are getting enough vitamin D in your diet? Check your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test in the comfort of your home.

Since vitamin D is involved in so many bodily functions, you cannot take a deficiency of vitamin D lightly. Lack of vitamin D can cause a plethora of conditions such as rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, brittle bones, a weakened immune system, inflammation, muscle fatigue, and weakness. A lack of vitamin D can even affect your nervous system.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin D for all Indian population, in general, is 400 IU (10 mcg) daily.* Some sources mention that for adults over 70, it should be 800 IU (25 mcg). Consult a doctor to help you understand how much vitamin D you need as per your sun exposure. For people who don’t or cannot spend a lot of time outdoors, it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D and doses might be higher. If you have concerns that you are not getting enough vitamin D from direct sunlight, consuming the following vitamin D-rich foods will help increase the overall amount of vitamin D in your body.

Here are 5 food groups that are rich in vitamin D:

1. Egg Yolks

Whole eggs are the healthy and wonderfully nutritious food, which you will ever find! Although most of us avoid eating egg yolks as they have historically gotten a bad rap for raising levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Skipping egg yolks in favor of egg whites will decrease your calorie and fat intake but you will be missing out on some of the protein, key nutrients such as choline, essential for brain development, and several of the minerals in yolks, such as selenium and zinc, which play a role in boosting your immune system. And you will be missing out on vitamin D, too. One large egg has 44 IU which is 6 % of your daily value. Eating up to 3 whole eggs is considered safe for a healthy adult. So, enjoy them in moderation.

2. Fatty Fish

Not only is fish a great option for protein but it is also rich in vitamin D. If you have vitamin D deficiency, it is mostly advised to eat fish on a daily basis. Fishes such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, hilsa, swordfish fish, and mackerel being good sources of healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids, will be a great addition to anyone’s diet looking to get more vitamin D. Include fish in your dinner plate three times per week.

On average, 100 grams serving of salmon provides 988 IU of vitamin D, i.e., 124% of the daily value.

3. Milk and Milk Products

Vegetarians need not worry! Being an excellent source of calcium, milk is also rich in vitamin D. Hence, including a glass of cow milk in your breakfast meal can improve the vitamin D level in your body. It will not only boost your metabolism but also will ensure that you don’t feel worn out throughout the day. Full-fat milk has the maximum vitamin D content in it. Fat-soluble vitamins are lost when the fat is removed from the full-fat milk.

One cup of milk provides about 115–130 IU of vitamin D which is 15–22% a person’s daily requirement. Health experts and nutritionists also suggest that adding milk and milk products like yogurt, cheese, buttermilk, and butter to your daily diet may prevent you from many bone diseases.

4. Mushrooms

Mushrooms, a kind of superfood that packs vitamin punch, are the only good plant source of vitamin D. They are extremely nutritional, contain an array of vitamins and minerals. But not all mushrooms have the same amount of vitamin D, it varies depending on the type and variety of the mushroom. While commercially grown mushrooms are often grown in the dark, they don’t naturally offer a high amount of vitamin D, some are exposed to UV light, providing a larger dose of the vitamin as a result. A serving has 124-1,022 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams, depending on the amount of UV light the mushrooms are exposed to. So, it is always better to pick sundried mushrooms as they have higher vitamin D content.

If you are vegetarian or vegan, specific mushrooms may be an option. These vitamin-loaded mushrooms are really tasty and can be easily incorporated into your diet.

5. Fortified Foods

Natural sources of vitamin D are limited, especially if you are vegan or don’t like fish.

Fortunately, some food products are designed to add nutrients that don’t naturally occur in the product. Manufacturers add vitamin D to many commercially available food products. These foods are then described as being fortified with vitamin D, or other nutrients. Common fortified foods with extra vitamin D and other nutrients include:

  • cow’s milk
  • soy milk
  • almond milk
  • orange juice
  • yogurt
  • various breakfast cereals.

These foods might contain 54-136 IU per serving. But fortified foods can contain added ingredients, like sugar or saturated fats that make the product less healthy. So, it is important to look for products with no added sugar.

Eating plenty of these listed vitamin D-rich foods is a great way to get enough vitamin D. However, depending on a person’s dietary preferences, consuming enough vitamin D may be difficult. Remember to not overconsume as excess vitamin D can cause the body to absorb too much calcium, leading to an increased risk of kidney stones and heart disease.

We still suggest that the easiest way of getting your daily dose of vitamin D is spending time in the sun. Aim for 15-20 minutes of mid-day sun exposure at least twice per week. However, if this is not possible, vitamin D supplements like cod liver oil, maybe a beneficial choice.

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what will you skin say to you blog image

Just like our stomach growls to let us know that we are hungry, similarly, our skin too talks to us to let us know how healthy or unhealthy it is.  We often tend to ignore the vital signs that our skin wants to tell us. It’s just like a plant that needs constant care and nourishment to grow and remain healthy. A lot of us don’t take care of our skin the way we should, either because we are too busy or occupied in our day-to-day lives, are very lazy to listen to the damaging signs that our skin shows or we are unaware of how we can actually take care of our skin. All those dryness and roughness is our skin telling us to look after it and nourish it soon before it gets too late. We readily buy skincare products but do we actually understand how to use them? Do we really need a skincare routine?

Listen to your skin talk!!

When we follow a strict or for that matter a good skincare routine, it shows on our skin, our skin thanks us in many ways; it starts to glow, and the result? Well, we can just put aside all the hefty makeup to cover our skin as it does the trick for us automatically without having to use ten different creams and foundations to cover it up. You will be glad to show off your skin daily, but all it takes is a little effort from your side for healthy and beautiful skin. Every acne, or that fine line is a communication message our skin is trying to reach us with. While this may sound new and surprising, it is factual as our body works as an entire ecosystem. Whatever happens inside the body gets reflected outside. For example, if you lack enough red blood cells, your skin appears pale and washed out. Another example what most of you will find relatable is, if we get acne or pimples, it is our skin telling us that some hormonal imbalance or blood sugar levels have been compromised. Common hormonal imbalances that can affect skin include deranged levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). When we feel hot, we sweat profusely, why? It is our body’s way of telling us to cool down by secreting excess heat. Also,, it is crucial to take extra care of facial skin and dry skin areas by following a daily skin care routine at home, especially during seasonal changes.

Encrypt what your skin says

  • Acne/Hair fall/hair thinning– faulty lifestyles in today’s generation have led to increase in body fat which in turn causes insulin resistance. This can lead to raised androgens (testosterone) levels- hormones that start to act on our body thereby causing acne and hair fall.
  • Recurring boils– white spots or patches visible on the skin are warning signs that something is not right with your skin. If the bad bacteria i.e. the pathogenic bacteria start to invade, it reflects poorly on your skin. This can be due to the excsessive use of antiseptic soaps or due to staying damp/wet for a long period of time. They might kill the good bacteria and pave way for the bad ones to grow.
  • Cold sores– those blisters that pop up every now and then are a consequence of too much stress, being sick for long, harmful exposure to the sun, etc. A common cause is herpes virus and at times can be very painful too.

Go that extra mile for your skin

When you put in a little effort and energy towards making your skin better, it will reciprocate with the same love and energy. Feel more healthy from within and present yourself more beautifully and energetically. If you have to start taking care of your skin from today, start from the natural and easy ways. There’s nothing like following a skincare routine at home, especially during this COVID pandemic. Start by exercising often if not daily at the least 2-3 days a week. It is important for you to be in good health, once you start exercising, it will increase your oxygen and blood flow to help carry all the essential nutrients to all the cells in your body. It will also aid in the elimination of waste materials from the body.

The other important factor to keep your skin in check is to drink plenty of fluids. Natural drinks like coconut water can work wonders for your skin in no time. All the dryness visible in the form of white flakes on the elbow or knees is your skin telling you to drink more and more water and remain adequately hydrated.

Another easy natural remedy is the regular consumption of vitamin C; plenty of vitamin C can be found in leafy vegetables and fruits. Lemon, oranges, kiwis, broccoli, etc should be consumed to get the required dose of vitamin C for your skin. People who get up early for walking or exercising get the best sunlight, which is an excellent source of vitamin D for your body. Get that sun on your body during early morning hours as it acts as a natural source of vitamin D. While vitamin D is essential, one should be wary of the harmful UV rays that can damage your skin and body, hence always wear a good sunscreen (with adequate sun protection factor) before stepping out.

These are just some basic ways in which you can listen to your skin and take care of it. All these will do their work eventually but it must be You who should be willing to put in the hard work for yourself. You need not spend lavishly on your daily skincare routine, just understand when your skin is trying to speak to you, pay heed to the signs it displays, and work towards repairing it. 

Make sure you are in a healthy relationship with your skin, and fully committed to protecting and nourishing your skin!

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Scientific Tips For Aging Gracefully

The population of the world, as a whole, is living longer. It is thus essential to implement proactive steps to create changes at both individual and environmental levels, which can promote aging in a better way.

The concept of aging well is a fundamental requirement to improve health and well-being in order to enhance length and quality of life. Aging well highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping wellness on priority while growing older.

Here are 7 scientific tips that can help you age gracefully:

  1. Keeping physically active

It has been observed that poor health in old age is mainly caused due to the effects of multiple lifestyle choices, such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking.

Regular exercising lowers the risk of several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. Several studies also suggest that aerobic exercises may improve the symptoms of Alzheimer disease. Moreover, certain evidence have demonstrated the beneficial effect of physical activity on aging at cellular levels, causing an increase in energy, flexibility and overall sense of well-being.

Various types of physical activity that can be done are:

  • Simple exercises such as walking, jogging, yoga, weight lifting or a dance class possess multiple benefits as they can control weight, uplift mood, and makes you sleep better
  • A 30 minute-walk every day, it can also be broken into shorter strolls

It has been recommended that an adult should do 2½ - 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 1 ¼ - 2 ½ hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, or a combination of these two.

If you haven’t been exercising, discuss with your doctor about how you can get started gradually.

  1. Eating a balanced diet

Diet is shown to play an active part in how well you age. Nutritious diet helps in keeping an individual mentally sharp and gives energy to enjoy day-to-day activities. Eating a balanced diet not only helps you age well, but also prevent oneself against various diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc.

Numerous studies have shown that chronic illnesses, particularly auto-immune diseases such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, can be associated with our diet, hence, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory components such as fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended.

In addition, avoiding processed food with a higher glycemic index can raise your BMI, increase your waistline, and raise your blood sugar. Enough vitamin D level is essential as it helps contribute to bone health as you age. Salt should be kept to minimum to prevent high blood pressure.

The recommended diet for aging well should include the following:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta
  • Lean protein, such as fish and beans
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that contain vitamin D
  1. Focusing on mental health

Mental health is very crucial as happiness with less stress levels can help a person age gracefully and liver longer and healthier.

Various tips for improving your mental health includes:

  • One should practice the habit of staying optimistic. Keeping a positive outlook can cure stress associated with life problems.
  • One should stay connected as loneliness is harmful for your mental health. A lonelier individual has higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, linked to disorders like arthritis. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network enhance both mental and physical well-being and longevity.
  • Learn to embrace different aspects of life with a positive attitude.
  • Find new hobbies as exploring new and meaningful things can provide a sense of purpose and keep your anxiety levels to minimum. Keep yourself busy to lessen stress about things you can’t control.
  1. Getting enough sleep

The sleeping habit of an adult in this era has been greatly affected by changed lifestyle and work pressure. This sleep-deprived state in turn, leads to fatigue and premature aging of body cells.

It has been observed that insomnia is more common in older adults. Thus, sticking to a sleeping schedule is important as it can keep a body in sync for appropriate sleep. For an uninterrupted sleep:

  • Keep the room a little cooler and dark
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening
  • Avoid electronics before bedtime which emit blue light.

Usually sleeping hours are majorly dependent on your age, an 8-hours sleep is recommended for an adult for better mental and physical health. It has been reported that our skin cells build and repair themselves during sleep, and that’s why we feel renewed and rejuvenated.

Beneficial effects of appropriate sleep include:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Reducing the risk of obesity
  • Improving focus and concentration.
  1. Restricting smoking and alcohol consumption

Smoking and alcohol, both have shown many negative effects on the process of aging. Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other products with nicotine can cause ailments like heart disease, cancer, lung and gum disease, etc. Similarly, limit your alcohol consumption to avoid risk of health diseases including liver ailments.

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources that can help you quit. Seek the help of a healthcare professional.

It has been reported that your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette.

  1. Scheduling health tests on time

    As you age, your body organs also age. The aging body organs are more prone to get diseased and less likely to repair themselves. By getting your health tests done regularly, you are keeping an eye on the aging body. This helps to identify any health condition at an early stage, and take action. Ensure to get a full body check up done twice a year.
  1. Maintain hydration

    Hydration is vital to our bodies as drinking water regularly helps in releasing out toxins and aids in digestion. Additionally, it aids in sleeping better, and improves focus and weight loss. Adequate water intake can also help you avoid dry, flaky skin and fine lines, which in turn, can help your skin look younger.
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Why You Need More Vitamin D In The Winter

The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, requires exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from the sun for its synthesis. During the sunny summer days, making enough vitamin D can be very efficient. However, as soon as the winter arrives, less sunlight is available and the risk of vitamin D deficiency increases. As per many researchers, your body needs vitamin D not only to maintain bone health but also to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when you need vitamin D the most, you end up getting deficient for this essential vitamin.

You can fix a problem only when you know it exists. Especially during the winter months, experts recommend a blood test that assesses the amount of vitamin D in the body. It is particularly important for you to get tested for vitamin D if you are over age 70, have darker skin, have malabsorption problems or take medicines that interfere with vitamin D absorption (for example, glucocorticoids). If you have liver and kidney disease, you can be often deficient in vitamin D. These organs are required to make the active form of the vitamin, whether it comes from the sun or from food.

For a good gut health during winter

Enough has been known and written about vitamin D deficiency leading to bone diseases like rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. However, research has shown that vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. One of the ways vitamin D functions is by keeping the gut microbes healthy. If you have sufficient vitamin D levels, you are more likely to have those healthy gut bacteria just right in number and diversity. This helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. On the other side, low vitamin D levels can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease in some people.

Strong immunity needs vitamin D

There has been a lot of buzz around the role of vitamin D in boosting immunity. This holds great significance in the times of COVID-19 pandemic. Some scientists have claimed that the immune system has vitamin D receptors that determine which cells can use vitamin D. Having enough of this sunshine vitamin might help improve your ability to fight infections and reduce inflammation.

Less time spent outside

In the winter, you are more likely to catch infections. Also, you are more likely to lie comfortably in your cozy blanket and spend less time outside. This leads to more and more of us getting vitamin deficiency in the winter.

Vitamin D and Calcium, the best friends

Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium from your diet. Along with vitamin D, calcium plays a significant role in keeping your bone and muscles health intact.  

Eat healthy to get enough vitamin D

Apart from exposure to the sun, you can get enough vitamin D for your body through certain food items as well, including tuna, sardines, mushrooms and fortified dairy and orange juice. Adding vitamin D supplements can be a good way to reach the recommended vitamin D intake.

Lack of sun exposure during the winter months would be less of a problem if diet provided adequate vitamin D. But there aren’t many vitamin D–rich foods , and you need to eat a lot of them to cover up the recommended vitamin D intake of 10 μg/day (400 IU/day) for adults.

The COVID-19 angle

Some of the recent researchers have claimed that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to get severe COVID-19 illness. Vitamin D deficient people might have a higher chance of getting hospitalized too. Whether vitamin D has any role in preventing coronavirus infection or not, it isn’t clear yet and needs more data and robust evidence.
Think you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19? Book a COVID-19 test and get tested at home. 

Overdoing is prohibited, too

While you aim to get enough vitamin D, keep in mind that too much vitamin D can be harmful. Want to know exactly how much vitamin D healthy adults should have? Or confused about when to get tested for vitamin D? Check out this article to stay in the know.

Remember that the same UVB rays that help in vitamin D synthesis, can damage your skin as well. Under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need. However, various factors affect this synthesis: the season, the time of day, where you live, cloud cover, and even pollution levels. In addition, your skin’s production of vitamin D is influenced by age, skin color, and sunscreen use.

Book a vitamin D test to be sure if your levels are enough to support a healthy you. This winter, get tested on time and don’t let your body suffer from lack of vitamin D by taking early steps.  

Also read “Why and when you should get tested for Vitamin D?

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