Vitamin D Status in South Asian Populations - Risks and Opportunities.Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr 2016; 56(11):1925-40CR
Human body acquires a significant amount of vitamin D by cutaneous synthesis under the action of sunlight and less is supplied through nutritional sources. Diversified sociocultural and economic determinants have been identified that limit the dietary intake of vitamin D and enough distribution of sunlight to maintain optimal levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D). Consequently, the world has witnessed a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in resource-limited South Asian countries. The purpose of this review is to provide a South Asian perspective of vitamin D status, critically examining India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and to shed light on potential determinants (latitude and season, sunshine exposure habits, age, gender, and genetic factors) leading to hypovitaminosis D among a variety of population groups. Literature search was carried out using bibliographic databases "PubMed," "Google Scholar," and "ScienceDirect.com." Serum 25(OH)D level, 20-50 nmol/L, was mainly taken as vitamin D deficiency, and determinants of low serum 25(OH)D concentration of the population under study were also considered. The review concludes that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent among South Asian populations and global efforts are needed to overcome hypovitaminosis in the region. In addition, dietary diversification, supplementation and fortification of foods with vitamin D, adequate exposure to sunlight, and consumption of animal foods were suggested as viable approaches to maintain 25(OH)D levels for optimal health.