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Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Apr;87(4):1080S-6S.

Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, M-1013, Boston, MA 02118, USA. mfholick@bu.edu

Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic. The major cause of vitamin D deficiency is the lack of appreciation that sun exposure in moderation is the major source of vitamin D for most humans. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D are often inadequate to satisfy either a child's or an adult's vitamin D requirement. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and will precipitate and exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with increased risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and infectious diseases. A circulating level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of >75 nmol/L, or 30 ng/mL, is required to maximize vitamin D's beneficial effects for health. In the absence of adequate sun exposure, at least 800-1000 IU vitamin D3/d may be needed to achieve this in children and adults. Vitamin D2 may be equally effective for maintaining circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D when given in physiologic concentrations.

PMID:
18400738
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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