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Overview Middle East and vitamin D

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The, ahem, ‘Joy’ of Summer in Dubai

Written by thehedonista (2011)

Upon awakening this morning, I could not see out my windows. Lion asked me if it had been raining – the condensation was thick and punctuated with large rivulets that revealed the jungle our garden has become. But if I look out the windows on the second storey, I can see nothing but beige. The light is dull, the sun shrouded in mother earth’s pollution – dust and humidity.

The streets are silent, but for a man in orange sweeping the curb and a gardener in grubby shalwar qameez dragging a rusty lawn mower behind his bike. The joggers and dog walkers are nowhere to be seen. Even bus children wait in the air conditioned zone on their front doorsteps until the last moment when the school bus toots. Outside has become the wild frontier – only the strong, mad or unfortunate will brave it.

My day revolves around thirty second walks between my car and cooled venues I leave early and ensure I arrive in time to secure a good carpark at my destination. Others flout the rules and double park wherever they please, knowing the parking ticket is worth it to avoid the long walk in the heat. Not that there are many parking inspectors on the job anyway.
On the radio, the news reader reminds us to check our tyres for tread and inflation. Bitumen can get to 70ºC on days like this, hot enough to cause a second degree burn in 1 second, and of course cause tyre blowouts. I am also careful not to leave my purse in the car when I lock it – not because of theft, which is a rare occurence here, but because my credit cards could melt.

Today I brave Karama. The folks back home want a collection of good cheap knock-offs. Even the polo shirts hanging outside on racks are hot to the touch. Inside they have the AC set to max. A haze of humidity gathers at the door where the temperatures clash, and no matter which way you are walking, you end up damp on the other side. My handbag man gives me a cuddle upon sealing the deal, and he recoils in soggy horror after accidentally touching my sweaty shirt-back.

At pick-up, all the parents run from car to school foyer, where we wait illegally till the last moment. We have been instructed not to clutter the public areas, but the thought of waiting outside is sickening. Small talk with other mothers has all but ceased. Our sedentary indoor lifestyle provides little in the way of news and anecdotes. Besides, the heat makes us tired.

Everyone is tired. We get no sunshine and are all vitamin D deficient. We are lethargic, moody, and our viruses keep circulating in the perpetual air-conditioning, so we are all sick. There are those who work outside, and they are sicker, with heatstroke, never-ending headaches, urinary tract infections, high blood pressure, and other effects of extreme heat and dehydration. Heat-related deaths are not unheard of. Outdoor labour is banned between the hours of 12:30 and 3:30, but this is often ignored. I see them in their blue overalls, wet from the shoulders to the waist, faces stained with dust and salt. They wrap scarves on their heads in meager protection – I wonder if it actually makes them hotter. At the traffic lights, from my air conditioned car, I see them peering through my windows, and I wonder how they can keep the malice from their tired stares. After all, I may not be their boss, but my life in Dubai supports this employment and everything that comes with it.

Sometimes they even smile, and it makes me want to cry.

At home, I put on a new DVD for the kids, and we break the Lego construction from yesterday so we can start again. We play foozball, UNO, build cubby houses with chairs and blankets. I bake, and blog, and then blog about baking, and eventually, in our boredom we slump on the couch and eat cupcakes.

On the weekend we go to malls. We shop, walk, ski, skate, abseil, play pinball, take rollercoaster rides, and terrify tots in playcentres, all in malls. We eat in the malls. We buy things we don’t need. We stop for coffee we don’t want. It’s all expensive, and every moment we look forward to the day we can get back in our pool. For it remains in the central yard of our compound, a tempting yet deceitful cool blue colour, but hotter than a bath.

This week we have visitors – friends of my parents. We were supposed to go out Tuesday, but Margot was struck down by the suffocating air and spent the first 36 hours doubling and tripling her asthma medication so she could breathe.

Middle East: map and 2020 population

population from Wikipedia

List of reasons for vitamin D deficiency: with Middle East annotations

ME = especially in the Middle East
Less time in the SUN

  1. Air conditioning - to avoid the hot sun ME
  2. Increased use of multi-media indoors
  3. More indoor jobs - more office workers, fewer farmers ME
  4. Living in cities more ME
  5. Want whiter skin - especially women ME
  6. Fear skin cancer
  7. Cholesterol reduced
  8. More Obesity
  9. Soft drink cola
  10. Meat from factory farms
  11. Some drugs consume or block vitamin D
  12. increased use of polyunsaturated fats
  13. More windows which appear to destroy vitamin D
    Other than sun
  14. Eat less liver - which used to have very large amounts of vitamin D ME
    Unsure how the meat was killed
  15. Less Magnesium in foods
  16. More Seniors
  17. Excessive clothing (burka) ME
    Note: Women in ME have much less vitamin D than men
  18. Have a condition which Consumes vitamin D
  19. Have a condition which Prevents Adsorption in the gut
  20. Have a condition which Prevents Conversion to active form
  21. Have a condition which requires more vitamin D
  22. Lactose Intolerance or Vegan
  23. Health reasons to avoid sun
  24. Work long hours or night shift
  25. Live far from equator (Only if move there)
  26. DDT in bodies reduce the vitamin D
  27. Myths about vitamin D
  28. Dark Skin ME
  29. Use vitamin D2 avoiding D3 from wool and gelatin typically made from animals ME
    Note: D2 is known to have less benefit than D3, and it may actually DECREASE D3 levels
    Note: As of 2012 many companies make Kosher/Vegan Vitamin D3
    Note: Vegi-caps do exist
  30. Lack vitamin D fortification of food and drinks ME
    • Details on above list are HERE
  31. Desalinated water (lacking Magnesium ) - unique to Saudi Arabia (60%)

See also VitaminDWiki

See Also VitaminDWiki - Air conditioning

Less Sun Less D Less Health

See also web

Islamic State fanatics put up billboards ordering women to wear the burka...or else July 2015

Health Effects of Islamic Dress From WikiIslam, the online resource on Islam - 2017

  • "There is concern among the medical community about some of the health effects of the extreme styles of Islamic dress, with the main issues arising from Vitamin D deficiency due to lack skin exposed to UV light. It has been established by credible scientific evidence that almost all women who observe the full hijab are chronically deficient in Vitamin D.[2] Vitamin D is a vital nutrient and deficiency of this kind can lead to various diseases."
  • "The concern is not only towards the woman who chooses to observe the more covering forms of Islamic dress but also towards any potenial children she may carry. Infants born to vitamin D deficient mothers have been found to suffer from an increased prevalence of seizures."
  • "Due to this reason, serious vitamin D deficiency is wide-spread in many Muslim majority countries. A study performed by doctors at King Fahd University Hospital in Saudi Arabia, showed that out of all 52 women tested, all had seriously deficient levels of Vitamin D and were at risk of many serious health problems, despite living in one of the sunniest places on the planet"
  • "According to The Economist magazine’s world rankings, the countries with the highest obesity rates among women are Muslim countries" (8 of the top 10)

Wikipedia Nov 2013

from Wikipedia Nov 2013

89% in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia have <30 ng of Vitamin D

 Download the PDF from VitaminDWiki

Deficiencies under plenty of sun: Vitamin D status among adults in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2013 - Oct 2015
Noth American Journal of Medical Science 2015 | Volume : 7 | Issue : 10 | Page : 467-475, DOI: 10.4103/1947-2714.168675
Marwa Tuffaha1, Charbel El Bcheraoui1, Farah Daoud1, Hessah Abdulla Al Hussaini2, Fahad Alamri2, Mohammad Al Saeedi2, Mohammed Basulaiman2, Ziad A Memish2, Mohammad A AlMazroa2, Abdullah A Al Rabeeah2, Ali H Mokdad1
1 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
2 Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

 Download the PDF from VitaminDWiki

Background: Vitamin D deficiency has been correlated with several diseases and injuries including diabetes, osteoporosis, fractures, and falls. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), current data on vitamin D status are lacking. Aims: To inform Saudi public health authorities on the current status of blood levels vitamin D deficiency, we analyzed data from the Saudi Health Interview Survey.

Materials and Methods: The Saudi Health Interview Survey (SHIS) is a cross-sectional national multistage survey of individuals aged 15 years and above on sociodemographic characteristics, tobacco consumption, diet, physical activity, health care utilization, different health-related behaviors, and self-reported chronic conditions. A total of 10,735 participants completed a health questionnaire and were invited to the local health clinics for biomedical exams.

Results: 62.65% of female Saudis and 40.6% of male Saudis aged 15 years and above are deficient in vitamin D. Out of them, less than 1% males and less than 2% females consume vitamin D supplements. Women who have never married and obese individuals are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, compared to men who were currently married and nonobese individuals. Those consuming vitamin D supplements are less likely to be deficient in vitamin D.

Conclusions: Our study showed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Saudi men and women, and the results call for an increased awareness to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D for better health in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, our findings are certainly relevant for other countries in the Gulf region or countries with similar cultures, clothing, and religions.

Only 2% of UAE have Vitamin D >30 ng - 2016

The status of serum vitamin D in the population of the United Arab Emirates Dec 2016
A portion of abstract
We explored serum vitamin D level in a large sample (7924) of patients who were given a blood test to check their vitamin D status on their first consultation at a day surgery hospital in Dubai. The overall mean level of 25(OH) D was ~ 20 ng/mL Deficiency was found among all age groups, in both sexes and in both local and non-local populations: overall

  • 85.4% were vitamin D deficient,
  • 12.5% showed insufficient serum vitamin D level, and only
  • 2.1% had an appropriate level

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Overview Middle East and vitamin D        
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Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
18358 ME population 2020.jpg admin 30 Aug, 2022 65.57 Kb 485
14326 Epi influenza season.jpg admin 19 Sep, 2020 43.16 Kb 1285
14325 Epidemiology and timing of seasonal influenza epidemics in the Asia-Pacific region_compressed.pdf admin 19 Sep, 2020 567.60 Kb 849
6132 Defi ciencies Under Plenty of Sun.pdf admin 03 Nov, 2015 463.58 Kb 2809
3615 89% less than 30 ng.jpg admin 14 Feb, 2014 53.27 Kb 18662
3614 Saudia Arabia- 2014.pdf admin 14 Feb, 2014 270.69 Kb 2544
576 middle east map.png admin 24 Jun, 2011 140.13 Kb 15478