VITAMIN D Beyond Effects on Bone (Medical Horizons)

Aly A. Misha'l


Hypovitaminosis D has been reported in many countries, including sunny countries. It has been estimated that one billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.

In the Middle East, including Jordan, several studies over the past two decades revealed widespread vitamin D deficiency ( defined as serum 25 (OH)D less than 15ng/ml ) and insufficiency ( defined as serum 25 (OH) D of 15-20 ng/ml ) that reached 60-80% of the total population. These figures become worse in winter.

Deficiency of vitamin D occurs when there is limited exposure to sunlight, deficient vitamin D intake, inadequate absorption of vitamin D from the digestive tract, or impairment in the metabolic activation of vitamin D.

Groups at particular risk of hypovitaminosis D, due to decreased synthesis or increased requirements are: the elderly, pregnant women, children and adolescents.

It has been suggested that vitamin D deficiency during infancy and childhood may imprint increased risk of chronic diseases for the rest of their lives.

The major and most well known function of vitamin D is to maintain calcium and phosphorus homeostasis and to promote bone mineralization. The classical consequences of vitamin D deficiency are rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults and increased propensity for fractures.

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