June 16, 2011

THAILAND: In sunny Bangkok, 14% deficient in vitamin D

BANGKOK, Thailand / The Nation / National News / June 16, 2011

Despite the scorching sun over Bangkok, up to 14 per cent of its residents suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.

"They have rarely been exposed to sunlight. Women are more prone to develop this condition than men," Dr Boonsong Ongphiphadhanakul said yesterday. The urban lifestyle is to blame, he said.

Citing a survey of 2,500 people across the country, he told an academic conference that Vitamin D deficiency was detected in just 57 per cent of people outside the capital.

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the intestine, which is good for healthy bones. Human bodies can produce Vitamin D if they are out in the sun.

"In fact, Thais should not have a Vitamin D problem at all, since we have strong rays throughout the year," he said.

Without adequate Vitamin D, people, especially the elderly, face a greater risk of osteomalacia and broken bones.

"There are also some connections between Vitamin D deficiency and diabetes and hypertension," he said.

To prevent Vitamin D deficiency, city people should get some sun for about 1015 minutes a few times each week.

"The exposure, without any sunblock, should be between 10am and 2pm," he said.

People can also acquire Vitamin D from their diet.

"We're doing research to determine which plants in Thailand are rich in Vitamin D. Studies conducted in foreign countries show mushrooms have a lot of Vitamin D."

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