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Nutrition 101

What are the Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency?

What are the Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency?

Image courtesy of Sbrools

Dietetic Interns Chui Pereira and Rebekah Facteau explain some of the potential risk factors and consequences involved if you’re not getting enough vitamin D.

Although the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU (15mcg), some Americans aren’t getting enough. A lack of vitamin D intake eventually leads to bone demineralization, which can result in osteomalacia – more commonly known as “rickets.” In adults, common characteristics include:

  • An unstable bone matrix with loss of bone minerals
  • Soft, brittle bones
  • Bone pain


In children and infants, rickets is characterized by:

  • The bone matrix growing, but minerals not being laid down
  • Bones becoming rubbery, soft and pliable
  • Permanent bone deformations, like “bowlegs” or “knock knees”
  • Delayed closing of the fontanelle -- the soft spot in the skull of infants


There are a number of reasons that your body may not be getting enough vitamin D. Having darker skin may reduce vitamin D synthesis from sunlight, as can wearing full-length clothing or sunscreen. Age also plays a role in vitamin D deficiency; the elderly are more likely to be affected as bones begin to naturally demineralize.

Those with intestinal disorders may wish to up their vitamin D uptake, as certain diseases may reduce the absorption of vitamin D. In addition, increased adipose tissue in the obese may decrease bioavailability of the “sunshine vitamin.”

If you think you might be vitamin D-deficient, you can try and improve your diet as a way to boost your vitamin D levels. And don’t forget to try and get a little more sun!


Let us know your tips for topping up your vitamin D levels in the comments section below.

nutrition advice, nutrition facts, vitamin d, rickets

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