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What is vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency is when the body is lacking in the vitamin, which is essential for strong bones and teeth. It’s estimated that one billion people worldwide suffer from low levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is produced by the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight and it can be found naturally in some foods like fish liver oil, egg yolks and fortified dairy and cereals. Those who don’t get enough sun, suffer from milk allergies or those who follow a vegan diet are more at risk of a deficiency.

What are the symptoms?

Most people are unaware that they lack vitamin D as symptoms can be quite subtle. Here are some common signs:


Low levels of vitamin D can pose many health risks such as:


Research also suggests that vitamin D plays a vital role in the prevention and treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabeteshigh blood pressure and multiple sclerosis.

How is vitamin D deficiency diagnosed?

The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is with the 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test. A level of fewer than 20 nanograms/ml is indicative of low levels of vitamin D.

What causes vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can occur for a number of reasons, including:


How is it treated?

Treatment for vitamin D deficiency involves increasing your intake of the vitamin through diet and supplements. The recommended daily allowance for anyone aged between one and 70 is 600 IU and 800 IU for anyone over the age of 70.

How can it be prevented?

You can lower your risk of vitamin D deficiency by: