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Effects on Body of Vitamin D Deficiency

author image Kristie Jernigan
Kristie Jernigan is a health writer with over 17 years of experience as a medical social worker. She has worked mainly with the elderly population and with children. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and early childhood from East Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in health care administration and gerontology from the University of Phoenix.
Effects on Body of Vitamin D Deficiency
A lack of vitamin D is thought to cause multiple physical problems. Photo Credit: emrahkarakoc/iStock/Getty Images

Vitamin D is needed to help the body better absorb calcium and keep the bones strong. Without the proper amount of vitamin D, a person may experience detrimental effects on his health. It can lead to severe problems like osteoporosis, arthritis, depression or even high blood pressure. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center a person needs at least 20 minutes of sunlight per day to keep levels of vitamin D up. You may not even realize that you have a deficiency in vitamin D until it has already developed into a serious problem.

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One of the most obvious signs of low vitamin D is its effects on the bones. Without vitamin D the bones can soften and will be more fragile and prone to breakage. This can be a serious concern for the elderly, who are at particular risk of having a deficiency in vitamin D. However, there are other diseases, such as kidney disease, that cause a lack of vitamin D. Without vitamin D a person’s body cannot properly absorb calcium, and this can cause an inability to heal bone fractures and lead to osteoporosis. Arthritis of the bones and joints can also be caused by vitamin D deficiency. In addition, young children who have a deficiency of vitamin D can suffer from rickets, which is a disease that causes softening of the bones.


It has long been thought that depression may be related to a lack of vitamin D. Many people seem to get depressed or have depression worsen in the winter months when there is a lack of sunlight. According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is caused by a lack of vitamin D. Walter E. Stumptf with The University of North Carolina determined through his research that vitamin D did indeed have an effect on a person’s mood. He determined that depression could be combated by using a combination of bright light and supplemental vitamin D. From this research many people who suffered from severe bouts of depression have substantially improved.

High Blood Pressure

According to The University of Maryland, studies suggest a link between low levels of vitamin D and high blood pressure. High blood pressure caused by low levels of vitamin D may be more prevalent in people who suffer from kidney disease or an overactive parathyroid gland. It may be possible to lower or control high blood pressure by simply taking a supplement of vitamin D and calcium. High blood pressure over prolonged periods of time can lead to heart disease. Therefore, controlling the disease early on can make all the difference in these people’s lives.

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