Traditionally “Rickets” comes to mind when people think of vitamin D deficiency. Recently, however there has been a lot of focus in the medical field regarding other important roles that vitamin D plays in the body.
In the 19th century, vitamin D deficiency was recognized as the cause of Rickets, which is a bone abnormality in children. This resulted in fortification of various foods with vitamin D. We now know that vitamin D deficiency affects people of all ages. In addition to the important role in skeletal development, vitamin D is involved with many other physiologic functions.
There are two sources of vitamin D, that which is obtained from food, (many of which have been fortified) such as cereal, milk, orange juice, eggs, and fish. Humans however, typically obtain 90% of vitamin D from sunlight. Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include age greater than 65, dark skin, insufficient sun exposure, obesity, sedentary lifestyle , and medications which alter vitamin D metabolism such as anti–seizure medication.