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What Happens When You Are Vitamin D Deficient?

by
author image Janet Renee
Janet Renee began writing about health and nutrition after receiving a Bachelor of Science in dietetics, food and nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley. She went on to earn her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago. Renee has worked as a nutrition specialist and dietitian since 2000, focusing on metabolic and hormonal balancing.
What Happens When You Are Vitamin D Deficient?
Your skin produces vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Photo Credit fatchoi/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin D plays a role in numerous bodily functions, including regulating the immune system. It's best-known role is in bone health. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which helps build and maintain strong bones. You get vitamin D from sources such as sun exposure, eggs, fortified milk and fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel. Deficiencies can result from too little sun exposure, inadequate intake and impaired absorption. An adequate vitamin D level is 20 nanograms per milliliter or higher, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

Low Vitamin D

What Happens When You Are Vitamin D Deficient?
Cartons of milk in dairy aisle of market Photo Credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

In adults, vitamin deficiency causes bones to weaken and become soft. In children, this is known as rickets. This occurs because without vitamin D, the bones are unable to harden in a process known as mineralization. Scientists are still learning what other issues vitamin D deficiency may cause. Too little vitamin D may increase the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, depression and certain cancers, according to the University of Maryland Medical center. More research is needed in these areas.

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