Vitamin D in the body is produced by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, primarily to ultraviolet rays. It is an important vitamin as it plays a role in maintaining the organs of the body.
There are people who have deficiency of vitamin D and this can lead to a host of problems.
What causes vitamin D deficiency? The deficiency of vitamin D can result from a number of factors including:
- Inadequate intake coupled with inadequate sunlight exposure: It is caused by conditions that result in little exposure to sunlight. These conditions include living in northern hemisphere, being elderly or an infant, and having little exposure to sunlight. Aging skin requires more sun exposure. A 70-year-old exposed to the same amount of sunlight as a 20-year-old will only make 25% of the vitamin D that the young person can make. Breastfed infants are deficient in vitamin D because human milk is deficient in vitamin D. Most foods contain little or no vitamin D. Dietary inadequacy is often unimportant if enough sunlight created vitamin D. As a result, sunshine is often a deciding factor in whether vitamin D deficiency occurs.
- Disorders that limit its absorption: Certain disorders can negatively affect the ability to process or absorb vitamin D. Disorders such as liver or kidney disorders, pancreatic enzyme deficiency, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis and celiac disease.
- Body characteristics such as skin color and body fat: Dark skin is usually considered to be a cause for the deficiency. Obesity is yet another cause of vitamin D deficiency. Even when dietary vitamin D intake and sun exposure are adequate, the vitamin becomes unavailable because it is stored in the large amount of body fat.
- Rarely deficiency can result from a number of hereditary disorders.
- Side effects of medications or exposure to toxins, chemicals, or other substances may cause a symptom or condition of Vitamin D deficiency. Hence, they become possible underlying causes of Vitamin D deficiency but are often misdiagnosed or overlooked as a cause.
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