Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it serves as a source of calcium from a person’s diet. Traditionally, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue does not 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.
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. 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, egg yolks — and additionally, in fortified dairy and grain products.
Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can mean you have a Vitamin D deficiency. Yet even without symptoms, too little Vitamin D can pose health risks. Low blood levels of Vitamin D have been associated with the following:
Research also suggests that Vitamin D could play a role in the prevention and treatment of a number of different conditions, including type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons: