Jump to content
Syedmed

Vitamin D deficiency and Muslim women

Recommended Posts

(salam)

I was asked by a sister to post something in here on Vitamin D deficiency and women so I shall oblige. Recent studies, and experience have shows a prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in muslim women, and children born to muslim women. There is a study done in 2001 at the University of Chicago that looked at religious causes of Vitamin D deficiency in infants, and concluded as such. Additionally, a retort to this study was published by pediatricians at Wake Forest University, but with similar conclusions. For the Australians in the audience, a 2002 study conducted at the University of New South Wales also looked at muslim women with vitamin D deficiency with rather startling results, and lastly a 1996 study at the University of Malmo, Sweden, specifically highlighted Muslim women as a definite risk group for vitamin D deficiency.

Now before I go on, a little disclaimer. I should let you know that in medicine, sadly, race plays a big role in disease. An African American man with join ache, sickle cell disease, a Jewish smoker with blanched fingers, Buerger's disease, certain diseases are simply attributed to certain religioun groups and certain ethnic groups, thats just the way it is.

The reason quite simply for Vitamin D deficiency in Muslim women is lifestyle in more cases than not. Vitamin D as a fat soluble vitamin that is produced by the reaction of sunlight on skin. The sunlight converts 7-DHC to Vitamin D once it is exposed to certain receptors on the skin. However, there are a few misnomers about sunlight and specifically UV absorption. Contrary to popular beleif, black does not allow UV lights to pass thru. How does this fit in, well, black hijabs, or black chadors, or even black clothing does not allow UV light to pass thru and act on the skin and produce Vitamin D.

The role of Vitamin D in the body is to increase calcium absorption in the body, both in the abdominal region, and by the kidney. This absorbed calcium is then used to enhance bone in the body. Therefore it is easy to see why Vitamin D deficiency in children causes Ricketts, and in adults leads to Osteomalacia, both disorders of bone growth and structure. However, if all it did were to cause bone disorders we could take calcium tablets and be done with it. Sadly, the human body is not as simple. The problem with vitamin D is while it is also produced by UV reaction courtesy of the sun, Vitamin D is also activated in the kidney by the action of Parathyroid Hormone, (PTH) produced by the parathyroid.

Hormone regulation in the body works by a series of checks and balances, an increase in one, leads to a decrease in another and vice versa. Vitamin D produced by the kidney is not enough really for bone health. Therefore if we are sunlight deficient, and deficient in a diet of milk, butter and eggs, our body will compensate by producing PTH. Unfortunately as mentioned before, PTH cannot compensate enough, yet the body will continue churning it out, leading eventually to a state of hyperparathyroidism, and the slim chance of a parathyroid adenoma, aka a tumor, possible cancerous (worst case).

So the lesson is this. Please do get out more into the sunlight, please dont wear exclusively black (a little tricky in Muharram, but we can work around that), and do drink your daily requisite supply of milk, etc etc. I hope this is a good enough summary for the aforementioned sister, if not, please let me know and I shall ammend it and include any potential erratum that may exist. Thank you, stay healthy, ws

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sis, jlainqatar, salaam

In medicine we never say never, there are always exceptions, because that is the miracle of the human body. I am glad to hear that your Vitamin D levels are normal, ws

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(salam)

I wear black a lot, and I am not deficent in any vitamins. I'm also not outside in the sun a lot. But I do open my curtains everyday, and let the sunlight come in my house. Is that helpful or not? Is sunlight through glass enough?

WaSalaam, Hajar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aale Mohammad, u are 100% correct. You see cases all the time, not just of muslim women, but also orthodox jewish women who cover up as well. Glass and plastics do not allow UV rays to filter through btw sister Hajar. I think bottom line is eat healthy, and do get out more into the sun, and maybe not wear black everyday.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Arabian Princess   
Guest Arabian Princess

Salam

so wearing light colours helps ... your skin doesnt need to be directly exposed to the sun.

w'salam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Aale Mohammad, u are 100% correct. You see cases all the time, not just of muslim women, but also orthodox jewish women who cover up as well. Glass and plastics do not allow UV rays to filter through btw sister Hajar. I think bottom line is eat healthy, and do get out more into the sun, and maybe not wear black everyday.

You would see that the majority of ppl with vitamin D deficiancies are old women which leads to osteoporosis.

Why? becuase of menopause. That hightens the risk factor.

HRT is meant to help, but the real way to decrease the risk is to have had enough exposure to sunlight before getting old and plenty of excersise because that strengthens the bones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(salam)

bro Syedmed, could there be any other explanation for the vitamin D deficiency in the studies conducted? The group tested must have been muslim women, but can we assume that definately allthese women were in full hijjab and were also deprived of sunlight within the boundaries of their own private gardens and sunglight that reached inside their homes, and the great majority happened to be low on milk intake aswell...???

I fear that this study might be another example of alarming people with misinformation. I can accept that lack of exposure to sunlight is the cause of vitamin D difficiency, but I simply can't accpet that women in Western societies, (like Australia mentioned in the study) are generally so covered in their hijjab and kept indoors and away form sunlight to effect their vit D levels. Unless this information about the types of hijjab worn and the amount of time spent in sunglight is made available about the study group, I'm sure it is understandable to question the implication that by simply weariing a black hijjab we are at such a high risk of vit D difficiency

Thanks for the info though and thankyou bro Alle mohammed....and out of interest ..can't we just take a supplement?

your sister

Syeda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(salam)

Thank you for this info.....My husband has always encouraged me to get sun where possible. If we are in the park and the park is quiet then he tells me to take off my hijab and I will have it around my neck so if I see someone approach us in our direction I just simply draw my hijab back on.....I must say that i do only feel comfortable about doing this when he is around other than that I take advantage of my parents garden which is quite secluded (as I don't have a garden). It can be hard for us sisters sometimes but Insha Allah we will be okay B)

salam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sis Syeda, salaam,

The studies in question were of two types. One was a case control or retrospective study, where you look at Vitamin D deficieny in patients and you go back in time and look at exposures, or lack thereof. I believe the Australian study focused in on muslim women, but the study at the Univ. of Malmo just looked at patient data and found a trend among certain patients. The other type of study done is the cohort study, where by you take the exposure, or lack thereof, and more forward and look at the disease caused. The bottom line is this Syeda, a deficiency of sunlight is a risk factor that precludes you to certain mineal deficiencies. Whether or not you get that deficiency is another matter. Wearing a black hijab therefore may not preclude you from getting a Vitamin deficiency, but it increases the risk. And yes, you can take supplements, but a little sun isnt so bad. Lastly, it isnt a case of all these women in hijab. The way studies are done is that you have a certain set of data, and you look for correlation. In this case there is a correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and a certain group of people. The authors of the study conclude that this deficiency is most probably as as result of lifestyle and not simply chance. Every study done with statistics use what is called a p value. A p value of <0.05 shows that the data is statistically significant, and statistically viable, i.e. it was not due to chance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sis, jlainqatar, salaam

In medicine we never say never, there are always exceptions, because that is the miracle of the human body. I am glad to hear that your Vitamin D levels are normal, ws

Selam alaycom,

I must point out that I do go outside in the sun once a week (at my farm) without niqab, and I do eat fresh fish once or twice a week. Although I don't drink milk, I do eat yoghurt and feta cheese daily. Maybe that is the reason? I checked because I have had five kids, breastfed them all and osteoporosis runs in my mother's family. (Although they all lived on farms, had fresh milk and sunlight, go figure.)

Peace,

Um Ali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
osteoporosis runs in my mother's family. (Although they all lived on farms, had fresh milk and sunlight, go figure.)

The list of causes of osteoporosis is exhuastive. Vit D. deficiency is only one of them. But the main reasons are not lack of proper diet or sunlight exposure. It is estrogen deficiency in post menopausal women and lack of adequate exercise plus increased breakdown of bone in old age which leads to osteoporosis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(salam)

Just wanted to add another point about Vit D deficiency in Asian/Muslim women. Another thing that can cause it (and its not exclusive to Muslims, many asian Hindu/Sikhs have this) is eating a lot of chapatis. This is because it's a form of unleavened bread, or something, and it prevents absorption of Vit D from the digestive system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of Endometrium CA, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) had a study out six weeks ago on a new drug to treat Breast CA with estrogen receptors that replaces Tamoxifen as standard therapy. The new drug, Exemestane, antagonizes Aromatase and if now being considered as part of a new protocol with Tamoxifen being given for 2-3 years, and then being replaced by Exemestane.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Shireen   
Guest Shireen
Selam alaycom,

Excuse me drs, but the topic is vitamin D deficiency. You are hijacking the thread. Please stay on topic, you stethoscope wearing ramblers!

Peace,

Um Ali

That's a typical doctor 'palaver' :P They and their technical terms :blink:

And my parents want me to become one......I just can't do this injustice to myself <_<

The only thing I understood in this topic was something about milk, yoghurt and butter. Don't ask me about all the other terms which were mentioned here ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(salam) Aale Mohammad

There have been many studies that implicate smoking and breast cancer, especially smoking early, and smoking often. In 2002 Yale University scientists found a genotype, GSTT-1 that was implicated in Breast Cancer, similar to the BRCA-1 and BRCA-2 gene that is already known about. In a study conducted, they found that in patients with the GSTT-1 genotype, there is an increased risk for developing breast cancer, especially in post menopausal women who began to smoke at a young age. A 2001 epidemiologic study done at the Medical College of Ohio alsi implicated smoking and breast cancer, and again, it is in post menopausal women who began to smoke early. There are also many studies on the risk factor on smoking being increased when concomittantly the patient is exposed to alcohol consumption. And lastly nulliparity with smoking has also been implicated. By the way, most of these studies were retrospective case-control studies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My steth is also in my pocket. However, us medical students dont get the 4 buttons one, we get the 3 button student one, and the pockets arent deep enough for me to also carry my scut books, :(

Never got those people who wore it around their necks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(bismillah)

(salam)

I emailed this thread to my friend and in turn she asked a scholarly sister who she has islamic lessons from about wearing black and this is what she had to say.....

Yes it is. It is makrooh to wear black for women and its makrooh to pray salaat with black. Now I know you'll be asking about abaya and hijab, etc. You can wear all different colours under the hijab/abaya (as the idea of hijab is not to attract attention that is why I guess most wear black).

I hope this is helpful....I always thought that it was desirable to wear black....you see it in so many muslim countries.....Insha Allah I will ask her where her source of info came from....

Fi aman Illah

tahira1976

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanx bro for this thread... didn't know we had such edjucational thread b4 so replying now :angel:

i really had vitamin D dilemma... actually just learned... doc just told me :rolleyes:

well can't stop wearing black clothes :Hijabi:

but can get my vitamin D by drinkin milk :!!!:

thanx again

Edited by hmMm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Salam o elikum,

In continuation of the topic of Vitamin D deficiency, here are a few more points that should be known to everyone.

Some facts about vitamin D:

Vitamin D is a hormone, the roles of which are still being unravelled today. Osteomalacia/rickets and secondary hyperparathyroidism are just some of the diseases people put themselves at risk at by simply not getting enough sunlight. Vit D deficiency has been linked to heart disease, colon cancer, and other diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D in your diet:

Vitamin D is not widely present in food; it is found only in some fish and liver. Neither is milk a good source of the vitamin. It is only supplemented milk/dairy products that help prevent vit D deficiency. Not all countries have vitamin D supplemented dairy products (Australia and most countries in Europe do not). Therefore, it would be unusual for people to obtain adequate vitamin D from their diet alone, without supplementation or enrichment, i.e, if they are sunlight deficient. So it is wise to check what the case is in your locality before relying on milk to keep your vit D stores up.

Vitamin D and lifestyle of muslim women:

Whether we like it or not, Vit D deficiency has been found in muslim women of reproductive age, whether they wear hijab or not at higher percentages when compared to non muslims. Several studies in Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Denmark, Sweden, Turkey, Australia, USA, UK have attested to this. This is because of the typical lifestyle of Muslim women - to stay indoors and have little outdoor activity. The Muslim woman is covered almost entirely when outdoors (that is not free of non-mahrams’ view), so her sunlight exposure is reduced.

Living at higher latitudes is another sigificant factor. e.g., essentially no vitamin D is produced with sun exposure from November to February in Boston and from mid-October to mid-April in Edmonton, Canada. Therefore, muslim women living at higher latitudes put themselves at even greater risk than those living at lower latitudes. One research concluded that the highest degree of vitamin D deficiency in the world is found in kashmir (India/Pakistan) which is located at a very high latitude and the women hardly ever come outdoors.

This is in no way attacking or questioning the concept of the hijab or modesty. In fact by being aware of this problem we solve this misconception that hijab is the culprit. It might aggravate the problem, but it is not the main reason. Its our busy indoor lifestyles either by choice or forced on us by working long hours indoors or living in large apartment complexes that have little direct sunlight.

It is important to note however that women from particular cultural backgrounds, eg African, middle eastern, indian/Pakistani who don’t wear hijab have also been shown to have lower vit D levels. So it is more of an issue of lifestyle than necessarily dress code.

In general, vitamin deficiency only became widespread in the world with the onset of the industrial revolution. Houses no longer had courtyards, lanes were narrow, and people’s time was increasingly spent indoors. This is precisely why countries like America supplement their milk with vitamin D.

Pregnancy/ Lactation and Vit. D:

Pregnant women have a higher daily requirement of vit D and therefore need more sunlight. Children born to women with vitamin D deficiency typically have half the levels of their mothers, so are at an increased risk of rickets. Usually, if the mother is already Vit D deficient, then the baby becomes depleted of his/her body stores in about 6 month's time. Therefore, newborn babies and toddlers should not be kept out of the sun all the time.

Breast milk is a poor source of vitamin D. Formula milk is usually fortified with Vit. D. This does not mean that formula is overall better than breast milk. The best option for a woman is to breast feed her baby and take Vit. D supplements if she is deficient in it. These supplements not only raise the level of the vitamin in her own body, but also in her milk.

Skin color:

Darker skinned people need more sun exposure (as much as 6 times more) to produce the same amount of vitamin D. But this should not raise a false alarm for you if you are dark skinned, because for people with routine sun exposure, the levels of Vit. D in the body is more or less the same regardless of their complexion. It would matter more if you are dark skinned plus you rarely get sun exposure.

Many cultures of Muslim people consider white as beautiful. So women avoid the sunlight for fear of getting a tan. This is a particularly evil view in that not only is it racist, it also can lead to the bad health of women and their children.

Sunblock blocks out UVB and prevents the production of vit D. Therefore it is best to avoid using sunblock for at least 10 min if you are going out in the morning or afternoon.

How much exposure to sunlight is necessary:

Short exposures are more efficient at producing vitamin D. It has not been found out exactly how much sunlight is actually needed, it appears prudent to recommend exposure of hands, face and arms to 5-15 minutes of sunlight 4-6 times a week - with the greatest frequency recommended for the elderly and dark skinned populations. But prolonged exposure not only degrades vitamin D to inactive products, it also increases the risk of skin cancers.

UV light does not pass through glass or plastic:

Sitting in a well lit room does not prevent vitamin D deficiency. The UV rays must hit your skin directly.

Wearing black does not facilitate the absorption of UV light by your skin:

The UV rays are absorbed into the material and does not reach the skin. Although black blocks out more UV light than light colors do, neither sufficiently allow enough light to reach and penetrate the skin. Therefore, try to sit in your backyard or at a window where direct sunlight reaches you. Or prolong your exposure when you are in hijab outdoors.

Vit D deficiency in old people:

Older people need more exposure than younger people because skin is both thicker and also loses ability to form Vit D. Older people are less active and many are hospitalized for other diseases which further causes Vit. D deficiency.

A note to responsible, God fearing brothers:

When picking a house to buy or rent, choose one that gets as much direct light as possible through its windows or in a courtyard/backyard. You should be able to open windows to allow direct light in. Flyscreens should be removable. If you cannot afford a place with a private courtyard or backyard, then make sure you take your wife/family out at least one day a week, and encourage them to go out the other days of the week.

Do not think that your wife being home 24/7 and not having to go out for anything, makes you a better man in protecting your wife’s modesty. You are answerable to God if you have any hand in your wife's ill health and consequently your children's health, if you do not provide for or allow them to enjoy direct sunlight. In the time of hadhrat Fatima(as), houses had courtyards and women had to go out to do washing and get water etc. This is how they got enough sunlight, whilst remaining at home most of the time. Sunlight is not just necessary for Vitamin D production. Sunlight deficiency is known to be linked to seasonal depression and other psychological problems. Please keep this in mind for the well being of your wife and children.

Do not express a preference to lighter skin to your womenfolk. Whether it be through your actions or words. This is like expressing a preference for being very thin women. It can be unhealthy for them.

Final Note:

- Anyone with limited sunlight exposure is at risk for Vit. D deficiency. And if your exposure is limited, you maybe unaware that you are deficient in this vitamin. That is because the deficiency does not produce any noticeable symptoms early on. So get your vitamin D level checked. Many hospitals have routine screening programs for this - you can ask your local doctors and get more information from them.

- Vit D. is necessary to maintain the required calcium level in the body, but a normal calcium level does not rule out Vit. D deficiency. The body has other mechanisms to bring the calcium level back to normal. But these compensatory mechanisms have their own problems, therefore Vit. D is necessary.

- Tell your friends, family and community about vitamin D deficiency.

References:

http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/175_05...ozza/nozza.html

http://www.racgp.org.au/document.asp?id=12261

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont want to sound controversial

But I read in an article that because of this reason(lack of Vit D), Iran allowed and promoted Chador of different colors(not necesarily black)

Another question : Does lack of Vit D lead to depression which leads to suicide ? :huh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Skin color:

Darker skinned people need more sun exposure (as much as 6 times more) to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

What does Dark skinned ppl mean? African America or ...not very fair ppl?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Studies have shown that Folate deficiency has a stronger correlation with depression than Vitamin D deficiency as far as a primary correlation. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorders) due to variation in sunlight are common, and whilst they bring about Vitmain D fluctuations, the Vitamin D in of itself does not lead to the disorder. Folate though, is another story, and currently more research is being done. Btw, folate deficiency is a common cause of neural tube defects in pregnancy, so to all the pregnant mothers out there, please take your vitamin supplements, or eat plenty of green leafy veggies

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recent Posts on ShiaChat!

    • @Fakeha Not sure what your problem is. Can you please explain more?
    • Quran says: "it is no wrong for a Momin to keep the wish to marry a woman but do not keep secret friendship". 1st point allows to wish for marriage and wish comes when you want some person to be with you and that's love. 2nd point forbids from girl friend / boy friend relationship.  @Waseem162 and @Islandsandmirrors Make peace 
    • Allow me to go through the thought process with you,   So there is a universe with a huge complexity in it, it seems you want to know where and how it came into existence. We know it came, and there was nothing before it so if God created the Universe then how did he come/exist prior to something that wasn't there? Scientifically, space and time are bound, if you live in space you are bound by time, but time isn't absolute so it would be very much possible that if you were of no matter at all and 'existed' outside the realm of space then time isn't something that applies for you. The best way I imagine it is as imagine a train travelling across the earth, the universe is that train, it is moving and the movement is time, everything outside the train, the earth itself is 'God' he can see the train move but doesn't matter where it moves it is still within his grasp, it makes no difference it's position to his existence, he is just there. So due to space-time link, it is very much possible for God to exist given his nature which is thoroughly explained in the Quran. Now how can I be so sure God created the Universe? Think about the laws of the Universe. They are absolute and doesn't matter where you are, you cannot change them, e.g. you cannot destroy or create matter for example. And before your atheist friends attack you with this, you can change some things like the boiling point of water for example, but that isn't one of the natural laws that's just a property. So for the Universe to exist something had to happen, a reaction, matter + anti-matter, blast of energy whatever you want you can choose. However, whatever it was it would have to still follow a set of rules, like for matter and anti-matter to react, there are laws of nature that dictate they will react. So where did the foundation rules of the Universe come from? If there was nothing prior how could they have existed? All you need to do it look into the complexity of nature and you will know something is up. Now here's an 'offence' question for you, if God doesn't exist wouldn't it be all about survival then? Why don't we look up to thieves, rapists, murderers etc. who live only for themselves? they are going to disappear into a void at the end of life, so no matter what you do it has no impact and you will never feel anybody else's pain because you can't switch bodies, no accountability so why don't we go mad? even better, why don't we all just commit suicide? If your life is a struggle and you're not rich enjoying all the pleasures of the world, it would make perfect sense to just kill all ourselves. But what about life and experiencing it? Well, it makes no difference whether you lived 1 year or 100 years if it is all going to perish. Imagine I told you to build a castle as glorious as you can, once you're done I will destroy it all, would you bother? If you knew it will perish immediately is there a point? Would you buy a house if you knew it would be knocked down? Nope, so why invest time and pain into a life that will soon terminate and you don't even know when! Plus nobody can argue with you about morality because it would have no foundation, seize to exist if there is no 'purpose' for anything. This is the reality of the atheist position it, to me seems a lot worse than one with hope in something greater.  So as a challenge, can you prove to me it is bad to kill someone I don't like if I knew I would never be caught, punished or held accountable? Although there are many more points, I will leave it there. for the time being.
    • When the ground is slippery,the chances of slipping increase exponentially. Although Ahle kitab i.e Christians,Jews etc are pak according to Ayatollah Sistani.(But you cannot eat meat cooked by them unless you are sure that it is halal) http://www.sistani.org/english/qa/01120/ If you can find another place to live then it is better for you else you can check the above link and act accordingly.If you feel that you will fall in to sinning that you MUST look for other accomodations.  
    • That's the point. That there wasn't anything for his enemies to say that you were weak before how could you now say that you are a Prophet while it can be your obsession right now. But those people took those things seriously. They took it serious and you yourself admitted that none can be like him in this present age and now you believe that he wasn't ordinary but extraordinary. You seem to reject your views bro and that's a good sign. You think that God is not wise to let loopholes in prophethood that anyone may come and claim in such way?  You should learn the story of Hazrat Ibrahim a.s who said that weak is not God while implying towards setting sun, moon and heavenly bodies. No one could pass the seive of Prophet and Imamate except those who are Prophets and Imams. Anyone who does so will be humiliated and die a miserable life.  The weaknesses which sunni aqeedah has let Ghulam Ahmed to claim Prophethood and Imamate. While he failed in the infallibility test of shia faith. If anyone who turns back from shia belief to claim imamate, he would seek help from sunni aqeedah because shia aqeedah cannot be tempered or violated.   
×