Q:

What are the side effects of low vitamin D?

A:

Quick Answer

Rickets, cardiovascular disease, cognitive issues, asthma, bone pain, muscle weakness and cancer are associated with low levels of vitamin D, according to WebMD. Vitamin D deficiency may also play a role in the development of multiple sclerosis, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and glucose intolerance.

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Full Answer

Because vitamin D helps the bones absorb calcium, low levels of the vitamin can lead to soft bones and skeletal deformities characteristic of rickets, notes WebMD. Osteopenia and osteoporosis may also develop, states MedicineNet.

People with low levels of vitamin D are at increased risk of developing depression and some forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and men with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to contract prostate cancer, according to Everyday Health. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to more severe forms of heart disease. People with lower blood levels of vitamin D are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, notes MedicineNet.

The body relies on exposure to the sun to produce vitamin D, but the vitamin is also available in fatty fish, egg yolks and vitamin D-fortified foods, such as milk, states WebMD. MedicineNet reports that people between the ages of 1 and 70 should strive to include 600 international units in their daily diet. These levels are based on the assumption that many people receive limited exposure to the sun, but some experts feel that this recommendation is still insufficient.

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