Feb 5, 2013

Facts Causing Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin mainly found in two forms, vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. It is primarily responsible for maintaining the level of calcium and potassium in the body by facilitating their absorption. Therefore, it is crucial for bone growth and repair. It also strengthens the immune system and inhibits the secretion of parathyroid hormone.

It is mainly produced in the skin with the help of ultraviolet radiation of sunlight. So the synthesis of vitamin D in the skin is determined by a number of factors including the weather, geography, smog, cloud cover, and the time of the day, all of which can affect the exposure to sunlight. The liver is the main storage organ for vitamin D.

  • The most common cause of vitamin D deficiency is inadequate exposure to sunlight, as absorption of ultraviolet radiation of sunlight is crucial for synthesis of vitamin D. Such factors include spending most of the time indoors and keeping the whole body covered with thick garments.
  • The use of sunscreen products actually prevents sunlight from penetrating the skin, while the presence of excess melanin in the skin, as in the case of dark skin, can also impair the absorption of ultraviolet radiation.
  • Insufficient intake of foods like fruits, vegetables and dairy products, which are a rich source of this vitamin. Sometimes, even if you consume a lot of these foods, you may experience a deficiency of vitamin D due to some conditions that affect its proper absorption.
  • Certain diseases like Crohn's disease and colitis can damage the lining of the digestive tract and impair the proper absorption of many crucial vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D.
Some hereditary as well as liver and kidney diseases are supposed to be associated with such a condition. In many instances, medications can also cause a deficiency of this vitamin. Such medications include steroids, ulcer medications, drugs to control the level of blood cholesterol, and some sleeping pills. Alcohol can also adversely affect the metabolism of vitamin D.

  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Psoriasis
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Cancer (breast cancer)
  • Cardiovascular disease (hypertension)
  • Schizophrenia and depression
  • Rickets (retarded growth mainly in children)
  • Osteomalacia (weak bones, muscle pain, bone softening in adults)
Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of multiple sclerosis periodontal disease, chronic fatigue, irritability, headache, migraine, brittle nails, and dizziness can also be few other symptoms. This deficiency is also associated with high blood pressure, tuberculosis, and depression.


Foods that are rich in vitamin D are milk and dairy products, egg yolk, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, fish liver oil, soy, Chinese cabbage, seaweed, broccoli, mustard, molasses, cane sugar, legumes, beans, almonds and oranges. So including them in your daily diet coupled with sufficient exposure to sunlight can help you prevent a deficiency of vitamin D.

To treat this deficiency, supplementation and medications are also available, but make sure you consult your doctor before starting off any medicaments.


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