Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care

: 2018  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1146--1147

Vitamin D deficiency: An emerging pandemic

Jogender Kumar1, Arushi Yadav2, Kanhaiya Agrawal3,  
1 Department of Pediatrics, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
2 Department of Radiodiagnosis, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
3 Department of Endocrinology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jogender Kumar
1044, Sector 15 B Chandigarh

How to cite this article:
Kumar J, Yadav A, Agrawal K. Vitamin D deficiency: An emerging pandemic.J Family Med Prim Care 2018;7:1146-1147

How to cite this URL:
Kumar J, Yadav A, Agrawal K. Vitamin D deficiency: An emerging pandemic. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Sep 25 ];7:1146-1147
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Full Text

Dear Editor,

We read with great interest the review article by Aparna et al.[1] in the recent issue of your journal. I would like to commend the authors for their endeavor to highlight the under-recognized public health problem and suggesting potential solutions for the same, but at the same time have the following comments to offer, explanation to which will benefit the readership of the journal.

The diagnostic cutoffs of the levels of serum vitamin D given in [Table 1] are based on the Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline (ESCPG) 2011 which are relatively old. A recently published review of guidelines[2] suggests that all international guidelines except ESCPG agreed upon the cutoff of >20 ng/ml as sufficient, 12–20 ng/ml as insufficient, and <12 as deficient. The same cutoffs have been endorsed by Indian Academy of Pediatrics.[3] Statistically, also, the cutoff of 20 ng/ml is more appropriate as it coincides with the level that would cover the needs of 97.5% of the population.[3] Defining a standard cutoff is very necessary as increasing the cutoff will greatly affect the prevalence rate of insufficiency and will increase the treatment rate. Also, the cutoff for toxicity is much lower than given by authorsAs highlighted by authors that the 25(OH)D rather than 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels should be measured as it greatly depends upon parathyroid hormone concentrations. The same has been endorsed by the American Academy of Nutrition as well as other prominent societies. The other more important reasons for recommending 25(OH)D levels are the very short half-life of 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D (4 h), little or no relationship of serum levels of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D to vitamin D stores, and practical challenge to measure with accuracy due to its picomolar concentrations and lipophilic nature. The measurement of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels should be reserved for specific conditions like chronic kidney disease, etc. Recently, there is a surge in the request of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels; hence, it is very important to educate the physicians about these limitationsAuthors should highlight the role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of recurrent wheeze as well as asthma. Recent Cochrane review of high-quality studies showed that vitamin D reduced the risk of asthma exacerbation in children as well as adults, hence reduced emergency visits as well as hospitalization.[4] Also, it has been seen that prolonged vitamin D deficiency may lead to stunting and vitamin D supplementation may be an intervention to prevent and mitigate childhood stunting[5]Apart from those highlighted by authors, few other reasons for vitamin D deficiency pandemic in India are wrong cooking practices, the high prevalence of lactose intolerance, increased intake of coffee and tea, and lack of adequate supplementation/fortification.

As highlighted by authors, we physicians must understand ourselves as well as educate the common peoples and the policy makers that sunlight alone is not sufficient, the adequate supplementation, as well as fortification of staple foods, is the key to halt this pandemic.

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Conflicts of interest

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1Aparna P, Muthathal S, Nongkynrih B, Gupta S. Vitamin D deficiency in India. J Fam Med Prim Care 2018;7:324.
2Randev S, Kumar P, Guglani V. Vitamin D supplementation in childhood – A review of guidelines. Indian J Pediatr 2018;85:194-201.
3From Indian Academy of Pediatrics ‘Guideline for Vitamin D and Calcium in Children’ Committee, Khadilkar A, Khadilkar V, Chinnappa J, Rathi N, Khadgawat R, et al. Prevention and treatment of Vitamin D and calcium deficiency in children and adolescents: Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) guidelines. Indian Pediatr 2017;54:567-73.
4Martineau AR, Cates CJ, Urashima M, Jensen M, Griffiths AP, Nurmatov U, et al. Vitamin D for the management of asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016;9:CD011511.
5Wacker M, Holick MF. Vitamin D – Effects on skeletal and extraskeletal health and the need for supplementation. Nutrients 2013;5:111-48.