Vitamin D Deficiency

(Hypovitaminosis D)

Definition

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body's liver and fatty tissues. Vitamin D acts as both a vitamin and a hormone. Two of the main sources of vitamin D are food and sunlight. The ultraviolet rays of the sun react with cholesterol present on the skin and create previtamin D3. This compound goes through a series of reactions involving the kidneys and the liver. The final product is vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency describes low levels of vitamin D in the blood. This condition can lead to a condition known as rickets in children. In adults, it can lead to osteomalacia . These are two forms of bone diseases that weaken bones. It is important to contact your doctor if you think you have vitamin D deficiency.
Weakened Bone
Weakened bone at hip
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by:
  • Inadequate intake of vitamin D in the diet
  • Lack of sunlight due to:
    • Having a darker skin color
    • Wearing clothes that cover most of the skin
    • Living in northern latitudes during the winter
    • Not being exposed to direct sunlight—Sunlight through windows, clothes, or sunscreen-covered skin is not enough for the body to synthesize vitamin D.
  • Conditions and procedures that affect the body’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the digestive tract (such as celiac disease , inflammatory bowel disease , bariatric surgery)
  • Conditions or medications that affect the process of converting vitamin D to a form that the body can use, such as:

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