There has been an association between vitamin D deficiency and many acute and chronic illnesses, such as preeclampsia, periodontitis, childhood dental caries, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, deadly cancers, type 2 diabetes, and neurological disorders. Vitamin D plays roles in cell proliferation, immune and muscle function, skin differentiation, and reproduction, as well as vitamin D having vascular and metabolic effects as well.
Vitamin D deficiency is considered a pandemic. The major cause of vitamin D deficiency is due to a lack of sun exposure, since sunlight is the major source of vitamin D for humans. Very few foods contain vitamin D, and fortified foods are often inadequate to satisfy the daily requirement. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children, can exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults.
4. What Are the Optimal Levels of Vitamin D?
A circulating level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of >75 nmol/L, or 30 ng/mL, is required to maximize its health benefits. In the absence of adequate sun exposure, at least 800-1000 IU vitamin D3 per day may be needed to achieve adequate levels in children and adults.
3. Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in adults are usually silent, but chronic muscle aches and pains are the most common. Others include:
- Hair loss
- Increased sweating
- Digestive issues
- Pain over bones such as sternum and tibia
Some conditions put people at high risk for vitamin D deficiency. They are patients with osteoporosis, malabsorption syndrome, Black and Hispanic people, obesity, and chronic kidney disease. The recommended treatment for vitamin D-deficient adults is as follows:
- 50,000 IU of vitamin D2 or D3 once weekly for 8 weeks or
- 6000 IU/day of vitamin D2 or D3 for 8 weeks
- When the serum 25(OH)D level exceeds 30 ng/mL, provide maintenance treatment of 1500-2000 IU/day