why do you get vitamin d deficiency

Your exposure to sunlight is limited. Because the body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are homebound, live in northern latitudes, wear long robes or head coverings for religious reasons, or have an occupation that prevents sun exposure. You have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces the skin's ability to make vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure. Some studies show that older adults with darker skin are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. Your cannot convert vitamin D to its active form. As people age, their
are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency. Your digestive tract cannot adequately absorb vitamin D. Certain medical problems, including, and, can affect your intestine's ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat. You are. Vitamin D is extracted from the by fat cells, altering its release into the circulation.

People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D. The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. A level of 20 nanograms/milliliter to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency. Treatment for vitamin D deficiency involves getting more vitamin D -- through diet and. Although there is no consensus on vitamin D levels required for optimal health -- and it likely differs depending on age and health conditions -- a concentration of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter is generally considered inadequate, requiring treatment. Guidelines from the Institute of Medicine increased the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) for everyone ages 1-70, and raised it to 800 IU for adults older than age 70 to optimize bone health.

The safe upper limit was also raised to 4,000 IU. Doctors may prescribe more than 4,000 IU to correct a vitamin D deficiency. If you don't spend much time in the sun or always are careful to cover your skin ( inhibits vitamin D production), you should speak to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly if you have risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. Y 2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin that has powerful effects on several systems throughout the body ( ). Unlike most vitamins, vitamin D actually functions like a hormone, and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes it from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It s also found in certain foods such as and fortified dairy products, although it s very difficult to get enough from diet alone. The recommended daily intake is usually around 400-800 IU, but many experts say you should get even more than that.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood ( ). According to a 2011 study, 41. 6% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69. 2% in Hispanics and 82. 1% in African-Americans ( ). Having dark skin. Being elderly. Being overweight or obese. Not eating much fish or milk. Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round. Always using sunscreen when going out. Staying indoors. People who live near the equator and get frequent sun exposure are less likely to be deficient, because their skin produces enough vitamin D to satisfy the body s needs. Most people don t realize that they are deficient, because the symptoms are generally subtle. You may not notice them easily, even if they are having a significant negative effect on your quality of life. Here are 8 signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency.

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