Am I Getting Enough Vitamin D?


Posted by RR 5 mths ago

The short answer to this question is, probably not. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency in highly prevalent within the general Hong Kong population, and a Hong Kong Polytechnic University study in 2016 found that a whopping 99 percent of young adults aged between 18 and 26 in Hong Kong are not getting enough vitamin D. Much of this problem has been attributed to our increasingly indoor lifestyles, aversion to sun exposure, and lack of vitamin D in the diet.


Vitamin D strengthens the bones and joints as it helps the body absorb calcium, thereby reducing our risk of developing osteoporosis and suffering from bone fractures. It also regulates the function of different organs and has been shown to protect against numerous health problems. Dr Daniel W.H. Mok, a specialist in orthopedics and traumatology at Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Road, highlights the healing power of vitamin D when it comes to injured bones and joints.

“Recently, we have seen more and more patients come in with bone injuries, because fitness is seen as equivalent to wellness,” he says. “But if you take vitamin D (as a supplement) during recovery, the injury will heal faster.” According to Dr Mok, a post-operation ankle fracture can take four to six months to heal completely without vitamin D, and just 12 weeks with 5000IU (international units) of vitamin D supplements a day.

To ensure we meet our daily vitamin D requirements, it’s important to maintain a diet rich in protein, calcium, minerals, and vitamins (or take supplements if needed – Dr Mok recommends 2000 IU/day for those over 50, 1500 to 2000 IU/day for adults under 50, and 1000 IU/day for children and adolescents) and to exercise regularly. Studies indicate that after the age of 30, our bodies lose muscle mass at the rate of three to five per cent each decade, while bone loss generally begins after the age of 40.

Both can lead to reduced mobility and an increased risk of injury, but appropriate exercise can help slow down deterioration. Dr Mok cautions against diving immediately into intensive exercises such as bench presses, weightlifting, or boxing without a trainer, especially for those over 50, citing a recent surge in injuries resulting from improper training or overexertion. He recommends warming up before exercising, opting for lighter weights to protect against excessive loading on the joints, and getting a personal trainer if appropriate.

At the end of the day, it’s all about maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring we get an adequate amount of exercise and sunlight. “You only need to get your blood levels of vitamin D checked if you are in pain, suffering from an injury, obese, or have a poor diet,” says Dr Mok, in which case he recommends those in need to visit Hong Kong Adventist Hospital – Stubbs Road’s Lifestyle Management Center – a dedicated facility led by a team of physicians, dietitians, nurses, and health educators that helps patients improve their health in a safe and holistic manner through health assessments, lifestyle medicine, and wellness programs.

For further information on this condition, or to be tested, please contact the team at Adventist Hospital in Hong Kong.  

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