Study: Rising vitamin D deficiencies may pose worldwide health risks

NEW YORK Issues due to low levels of vitamin D are on the rise and potentially could cause severe repercussions for overall health and fracture rates, according to a new report by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Vitamin D is mainly produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight, and, to a lesser extent, is derived from nutritional sources. It plays an important role, through its influence on calcium levels, in the maintenance of organ systems, and is needed for normal bone mineralization and growth. Insufficient levels may lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and hip fracture, and, in severe cases, to the development of rickets, a softening of ones in children that can lead to skeletal fractures and deformity.

The cultural push to avoid sun exposure and the wearing of traditional clothing that covers the skin are examples of reasons for inadequate levels of vitamin D across the globe.

Based on this study’s findings, national plans of action should encourage safe, limited exposure to sunlight and improved dietary intake of vitamin D, whilst considering fortification of foods as well.

The reports can be found in the scientific journal Osteoporosis International.