Yes, deficiency of vitamin D can cause......

14/07/2013 14:17



If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. 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 some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks -- and in fortified dairy and grain products.


Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet. Traditionally, 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. 



Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency


Does vitamin D deficiency cause symptoms?


Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR


Yes, deficiency of vitamin D can cause bone pain and muscle weakness. However, mild vitamin D deficiency is not necessarily associated with any symptoms. Vitamin D has been referred to as the "sunlight vitamin" because it is made in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight. It can also be obtained through dietary sources, but the main source of vitamin D in our diet is foods that have been fortified to include the vitamin (such as in milk and other dairy products). Vitamin D is only found naturally in significant levels in a few foods, including fatty fish, cod-liver oil, and eggs.


Vitamin D acts to reg


The many roles of vitamin D in maintaining health and well-being are a subject of active and ongoing research. Even subclinical (not producing signs or symptoms) deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to significant health problems. Preliminary studies have shown that in addition to weakening of the bones, vitamin D deficiency may be associated with conditions as varied as cancers, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune diseases.



Read more about diagnosis, treatment, and risk factors of vitamin D deficiency »


Symptoms and Health Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency


Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a vitamin D deficiency. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:


Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease

Cognitive impairment in older adults

Severe asthma in children





Research suggests that vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.



Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency


Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons:


You don't consume the recommended levels of the vitamin over time. This is likely if you follow a strict vegetarian diet, because most of the natural sources are animal-based, including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver.


Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because 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.


You have 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.


Your kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. As people age their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.


Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D. Certain medical problems, including Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestine's ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.


You are obese. Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.


Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR


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