Hyderabad: The twin cities are hit by severe Vitamin deficiency coupled with poor dietary habits and inadequate nutrient intake, observed a study conducted by researchers from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN). Almost all the respondents of the study appeared to be healthy but were found to be struggling with severe deficiency of various kinds of Vitamins. They were found to be what the study described as ‘silent victims of multiple Vitamin deficiencies and high dietary inadequacies’.
Led by Dr G Bhanu Prakash Reddy and published in the January edition of science journal ‘Nutrition’, the study screened 300 respondents in Hyderabad and Secunderabad for Vitamin A, D, B1, B2, B6, B12 and Folate deficiencies. This happens to be the first time that researchers explored blood levels of major Vitamin groups along with dietary intake. Interestingly, it also focused on finding homocysteine levels, which are common amino acids in the blood that can give an indication of the early development of heart disease.
Among those studied, 50 per cent had Vitamin B2 deficiency, 46 per cent had B6 deficiency, 46 per cent had B12 deficiency, 32 per cent had a deficiency of Folate and 29 per cent had Vitamin D deficient. In terms of dietary intakes, nutrient inadequacy was found in the diets of 72 per cent of the participants. About 52 per cent of the respondents had high levels of homocysteine, an indication of them being prone to heart ailments in the near future. A majority of the respondents who had higher levels of amino acids were men, indicating the high risk of heart disease that they carry.
“Vitamin deficiencies are ubiquitous and they remain clinically undetectable unless severe. However, a mild form of Vitamin deficiency can result in adverse consequences. Our study highlights the widespread prevalence of multiple vitamin deficiencies and dietary inadequacies, with women being particularly at higher risk,” Dr Reddy said. The ICMR-NIN study has recommended the need to screen Vitamin levels regularly among the community and suggested the necessity for nationally representative data to direct the improvement of nutrition interventions and public health programmes. The study made it clear that there was a need for the State and Central governments to take up multiple fortifications, dietary diversification and supplementation to achieve the targets under Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).