The Effects Of Low Vitamin D On The Body

0The Effects of Low Vitamin D on the Body

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Mar 28, 2011 | By Joseph Pritchard

Joseph Pritchard graduated from Our Lady of Fatima Medical School with a medical degree. He has spent almost a decade studying humanity. Dr. Pritchard writes as a San Francisco biology expert for a prominent website and thoroughly enjoys sharing the knowledge he has accumulated.

Photo Credit x-ray of bones image by Tammy Mobley from Fotolia.com

Your body needs 13 essential vitamins. Without these vitamins, which include vitamin A, B complex, C, D, E and K, your may suffer from complications ranging from heart disease to bone deformities. Vitamin D specifically has been linked to bone disease. In children vitamin D deficiency is called rickets and in adults it is called osteomalacia. In either case, low vitamin D has numerous detrimental effects on the body.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that the body is able to store in large amounts. Most often vitamin D is stored in the liver and in the fatty tissue. The body needs vitamin D to maintain normal blood levels of phosphorus and calcium, MayoClinic.com reports. These are the two main minerals involved in the formation of bone. Vitamin D also facilitates the absorption of calcium from the diet. Vitamin D may also be useful in preventing osteoporosis, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease and cancer.

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Rickets

Infants who suffer from severe vitamin D deficiency develop a condition called rickets. Often infants who only take in breast milk, darker-skinned babies and children with parents with vitamin D deficiency are at a greater risk for rickets. Symptoms include bone pain or tenderness, teeth deformities and cavities, growth retardation, frequent bone fractures, short stature, bowlegs, spine deformities and bumps in the chest and breastbone, according to Medline Plus, a service of the National Institutes of Health. Treatment for rickets focuses on administering vitamin D in order to normalize the child’s vitamin D levels. Braces and support can help prevent skeletal deformities, but some permanent defects may require corrective surgery.

Osteomalacia

In adults, vitamin D deficiency, or osteomalacia, often causes muscle and bone weakness. Adults are done growing by the time osteomalacia begins so they rarely develop skeletal deformities or growth problems. However, osteomalacia is correlated with a decrease in skeletal structural integrity, an article in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” warns. These bones are weaker than normal bones and therefore the patient may experience aches and pains especially in the joints. Osteomalacia can also cause muscles pain and weakness. The diagnosis of vitamin D deficiency is sometimes difficult, but once the diagnosis is made treatment with vitamin D supplementation usually reverses the symptoms.

Sources of Vitamin D

The main source of vitamin D for humans comes from exposure to sunlight, “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” explains. Your skin is able to synthesize vitamin D when exposed to adequate amounts of sunlight. Furthermore, vitamin D found in foods such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Fish oil, like cod liver oil, also contains vitamin D. In the United States, some forms of milk, juice, breads, yogurts and cheesed are fortified with vitamin D. There are also dietary supplements and pharmaceutical preparations that contain vitamin D. These man-made forms of vitamin D are usually given to patients suffering from or at risk or developing vitamin D deficiency.

 

References

  • MedlinePlus; Rickets; Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA; August 3, 2010
  • Mayo Clinic; Vitamin D; December 1, 2010
  • “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition”; Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences; Michael F Holick and Tai C Chen; May 1, 2007

Article reviewed by Jenna Marie Last updated on: Mar 28, 2011

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/408333-the-effects-of-low-vitamin-d-on-the-body/#ixzz2HmHb3700

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