Tips To Keep Your Health On Track

Four renowned doctors share insights on navigating challenges and staying healthy

Micronutrients & Thyroid Health

Dr Sharvil Gadve, MBBS, MD (Medicine), DM (Endocrinology);Director & Chief Endocrinologist, Excel Endocrine Centre, Kolhapur; Joint Secretary, Maharashtra Endocrine Society.

The thyroid, a vital endocrine gland responsible for producing and secreting thyroid hormones, holds the reins in regulating various bodily processes like respiration, heart rate, and reproductive function. With its influence extending to virtually every body system, maintaining optimal thyroid function is crucial for overall well-being. Unfortunately, thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and Hashimoto’s disease, are more prevalent than one might imagine, affecting millions globally.

Factors such as autoimmune disorders, environmental influences, and age can trigger disruptions in thyroid function. However, one often overlooked but highly influential factor is diet. Micronutrient imbalances, encompassing both shortages and surpluses, have been identified as significant contributors to thyroid disorders. Vitamin deficiencies and amino acid levels play a crucial role in maintaining thyroid hormone and TSH levels. Iodine is a crucial mineral for thyroid health, as it is a key component in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency often leads to thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism and goiter.

Supplementation emerges as a valuable strategy for maintaining optimal thyroid health. Ensuring an adequate intake of Vitamins B2, B12, B9, and D can help support thyroid function and mitigate the risk of deficiencies. Additionally, supplementing with L-tyrosine, a precursor to thyroid hormones, aids in the production of these hormones, promoting balanced thyroid function. 

Vitiligo & Your Nutritional Status

Dr Pritam Panka, MBBS, MD-Dermatology; Sr Consultant at Skin Karma Dwarka and Mata Chanan Devi Hospital, Janakpuri, Delhi. He has more than 20 years of experience as a dermatologist and specialises in dermatology, cosmetology, and trichology. He is also a member of Delhi Branch IADVL, Indian Medical Association (IMA), Delhi Medical Council. He was formerly President of IMA Dwarka. 

Vitiligo is recognised as an autoimmune disorder connected with hormonal and hereditary influences in addition to disorders involving metabolism, oxidative stress, and cell disintegration. One of the most challenging dermatological concerns currently is treating vitiligo. 

Phytotherapeutics have revealed that most plant extracts contain antioxidants and aid in repigmentation. Furthermore, as emotional anxiety was found to aggravate vitiligo, ginkgo biloba’s anxiolytic qualities could slow down the spread of the condition. 

Vitiligo may be caused by an autoimmune process that is set off by a lack of nutrients. Vitamin B12 is one of the most common deficiencies in vitiligo patients and if supplemented, combined with folate and controlled sun exposure, induces repigmentation. Vitamin D3, owing to its immune enhancing benefits, is highly recommended in the therapy to decrease disease progression. The use of combination therapy (phototherapy with oral supplementation of vitamins and minerals) is associated with the best results in terms of repigmentation of vitiligo spots.

Here are few more tips for you:

  • Manage stress levels. Make self-care a priority and stay away from your stressors.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Consume food that is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols to help combat oxidative damage. 
  • Supplements assist in keeping your immune system healthy and work with other therapies to provide effective results.

Vitamin-D For Skeletal Strength

Dr Abhay Nene, MS Ortho, Spine Foundation; Fellow Spine Surgeon, WeAreSpine, Lilavati & Breach Candy Hospital; Hinduja Surgical Specialty; HN Reliance; Global; Wockhardt; Apollo Hospital; Wadia Children’s Hospital, Mumbai, India.

In the realm of health and well-being, one vitamin takes centre stage for its extraordinary benefits – Vitamin D. Despite the sun being a primary source of Vitamin D, deficiency remains surprisingly common worldwide, influenced by factors such as indoor lifestyles, sunscreen use, and geographical location. 

Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in calcium absorption, a process vital for maintaining bone density and strength. Insufficient calcium absorption can result in weakened bones, making individuals more susceptible to fractures, osteoporosis, and other bone-related disorders. It also hampers overall skeletal health, potentially impacting mobility and quality of life.

While sunlight exposure and certain foods contribute to Vitamin D intake, supplementation serves as a reliable strategy to address deficiencies, especially in regions with limited sunlight or for individuals with specific lifestyle constraints. Vitamin D supplementation helps maintain optimal levels and acts as a preventive measure against skeletal issues associated with deficiency. Ensuring an adequate supply of Vitamin D is important for providing the skeletal system with the necessary tools to build and maintain strength, resilience, and overall functionality.

Vitamin D – Beyond Bone Mineralisation

Dr Vijay Ramanan, MD (Med), DM (Clin, Haemat); Sr Consultant Clinical Hematologist at Yashoda Hematology Clinic; Director, Clinical Hematology, Bone Marrow & StemCell Transplant at RHC Pune; Dr Vijay Ramanan was the First Individual Patron of European Society of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant or EBMT.

The musculoskeletal effects of Vitamin D are well-known. However, since Vitamin D receptors are present all over the body, insufficient Vitamin D status may correlate with several extra-skeletal effects apart from the bone mineralisation. Dermal synthesis after UV radiation remains the major route for 90% of Vitamin D replenishment. Most people with a Vitamin D deficiency do not have any symptoms. 

Vitamin D reduces the risk of acute respiratory infections overall in children and shapes human immunity through its effects on both the immune system and skeletal muscle, in those who are particularly exposed to oxidative stress and inflammation. Vitamin D can also strengthen the barrier function of intestinal cells and different epithelial junctions, thus preventing the translocation of the intestinal microbiota to the bloodstream. It is capable of modulating the function of pancreatic beta cells and improving insulin sensitivity. Thus, supplementation could decrease prediabetes transforming into Type 2 diabetes. Not only does Vitamin D3 perform many vital roles, it has been shown to possess powerful effects that can control immune function, to keep the immune system functioning optimally. Supplementing helps to correct any existing Vitamin D deficiencies that reduce the risk of developing diseases. 

The most common cause of Vitamin D deficiency is lack of proper nutrition. Two bioequivalent forms of Vitamin D can be recommended, in order to correct such a deficiency. They include Vitamin D2 (obtained from dietary vegetable sources) and Vitamin D3 (present in animals and obtained from oily fish). Beyond bone, decreased risk for autoimmune, infectious, and allergic diseases has been associated with higher Vitamin D status. Vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial in the treatment or prevention of a variety of illnesses.

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