Vitamin D Deficiency in Adults

What is Vitamin D and why is it important?

Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

Severe lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities such as rickets in children and bone pain caused by a condition called osteomalacia in adults. Osteomalacia is a condition where there is softening of the bones.

Studies suggest that Vitamin D may be linked to different medical conditions in addition however there is no consensus about this.

Sources of Vitamin D

The body creates vitamin D from sunlight. For further information see the NHS Choices vitamin D page.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.

Sources include:

  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, kippers and fresh tuna
  • red meat
  • liver
  • egg yolks
  • fortified foods – such as most fat spreads and some breakfast cereals

Investigations

If Vitamin D was prescribed for you by the GP you will need calcium blood test done one month after commencing treatment, to ensure that your calcium levels aren’t raised as this can unmask a medical condition called primary hyperthyroidism.

Vitamin D maintenance

Once vitamin D deficiency has been treated, prevention is required to prevent recurrence. This must be commenced one month after completing the high dose regimen. This includes lifestyle advice (diet, sunshine) and long-term vitamin D supplements: