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Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency, or hypovitaminosis D, most commonly results from inadequate sunlight exposure (in particular sunlight with adequate ultraviolet B rays). Vitamin D deficiency can also be caused by inadequate nutritional intake of vitamin D, disorders limiting vitamin D absorption, and conditions impairing vitamin D conversion into active metabolites—including certain liver, kidney, and hereditary disorders. Deficiency impairs bone mineralization, leading to bone softening diseases as rickets in children. It can also worsen osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults, leading to an increased risk of bone fractures. Muscle weakness is also a common symptom of vitamin D deficiency, further increasing the risk of fall and fracture in adults.

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New research shows promise for vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of colds and influenza. One study showed a 40% decrease in influenza A compared to placebo. However, more research is needed.

Contributed by Lizzy Gilbert

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