Vitamin D Deficiency – Health Risks, Signs and Symptoms

Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods including fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, fortified dairy and grain products. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Conventionally, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with Rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.

Sun Shine – Vitamin-D

Causes

Deficiency of Vitamin D can occur for a number of reasons:-

  • Lower than recommended consumption of Vitamin D.  If a person follow a strict vegetarian diet, because most of the natural sources of Vitamin D are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver.
  • Limited exposure to sunlight. The body makes Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure.
  • Dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. Due to aging the Kidneys stop to convert Vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D.  Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease and some other ailments can affect your intestine’s ability to absorb Vitamin D from the food.
  • Obesity. Person  with a Body Mass Index (BMI)of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of Vitamin D.

Symptoms

English: Suggested mapping of several bone dis...
English: Suggested mapping of several bone diseases onto a person’s Vitamin D level (as estimated from the serum concentation of calcidiol). Based on Heaney RP (Dec 2004). “Functional indices of vitamin D status and ramifications of vitamin D deficiency Full Text”. Am J Clin Nutr 80 (6 Suppl) : 1706S–9S. PMID 15585791. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bone Pain and Muscle Weakness can mean you have a Vitamin D Deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are faint. Even without any symptoms, too modest Vitamin D can pose health risks.

Risks

Low blood levels of Vitamin D have been associated with the following:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cognitive impairment in older adults
  • Severe Asthma in children
  • Cancer

Treatment

Treatment for Vitamin D deficiency involves getting more vitamin D  through diet, supplements, and/or through spending more time in the sun. Although there is no consensus on vitamin D levels required for optimal health, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) for everyone aged 1-70, and raising it to 800 IU for adults older than 70 to optimize bone health.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Andrew says:

    Hello. I am not sure where to turn for help. I am a 39 year old Male with hereditary vitamin d deficient Rickets i was diagnosed when i was 1 or 2 years old. I attended Shriners hospital for Children in Chicago. I have had surgery for my bowed legs but I still have an extreme case. It seems as if I am going downhill fast, I am having problems with my teeth, have contstant headaches, experiencing hearing loss, and constant pain in knees, hips, back, shoulders. There is nothing my doctor can do for me and I have no insurance and paying him about $170 every time i go visit him to be told nothing new. I was working up until about 2 years ago as a custodian which I believe has helped my condition worsen. I have only worked manual labor jobs for 2+ years and I am now unemployable and have been trying to get disability but have been unsuccessful. I am looking for some sort of expert in the field of my condition to help me either get some type of disability or treat me with no evasive operations and a long payment plan that i can afford. I feel very helpless and can find no one who understands my condition, except for my grandmother who has the same condition and is now 89 but she has been lucky enough to get a sedatery job which i feel has prolonged a lot of the deterioration that i am now experiencing. Any resources would be so very helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

    Sincerely,
    Andrew
    Indiana

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