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Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency

What is a vitamin D deficiency? — A vitamin D deficiency is when you do not have enough vitamin D in your body. This is a problem, because the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and for other important jobs.
People who do not have enough vitamin D can:
Have weak or soft bones, which can break easily or change in shape
Have weak muscles, which makes them more likely to fall
Is there a test for vitamin D deficiency? — Yes. Your doctor or nurse can do a blood test to see if you have enough vitamin D. But you might not need this test. Doctors measure vitamin D levels only in people who are at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. This includes people who:
Spend most or all of their time indoors (for example, because they are in a nursing home)
Have medical problems (such as celiac disease) that make it hard for them to absorb vitamin D
Have a condition called "osteoporosis," which makes bones weak
Broke a bone too easily, such as by falling down
What foods and drinks have vitamin D? — Foods and drinks that have a lot of vitamin D include (figure 1):
Milk, orange juice, or yogurt with vitamin D added
Salmon or mackerel
Canned tuna fish
Cereals with vitamin D added
Cod liver oil
People's bodies can also get vitamin D from the sun. The body uses sunlight that shines on the skin to make vitamin D.
What are supplements? — Supplements are pills, capsules, or liquids that have nutrients in them. Supplements are another way people can get vitamin D.
Do I need to take vitamin D supplements? — Experts recommend that most adults take supplements that have 600 to 800 international units of vitamin D a day. This is the same as 15 to 20 micrograms of vitamin D. People who do not get enough vitamin D from their food or from the sun might need to take even more.
If your doctor recommends that you take vitamin D supplements, ask him or her which type, how much, and when to take the supplements.
The type and dose of supplement that is right for you will depend on your medical problems and the other medicines you take.
It is important not to take too much vitamin D. Taking too much vitamin D can make you sick.
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Mar 30, 2020.
Topic 15788 Version 9.0
Release: 28.2.2 - C28.105
© 2020 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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