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Vitamin D deficiency is associated with various diseases, such as bone loss, osteoarthritis, cognitive issues, kidney disease, respiratory concerns, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, cardiovascular disease, etc. Vitamin D supplementation can help prevent or treat vitamin D deficiency.
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A chronic deficiency of vitamin D in children will cause rickets. In adults, it can cause osteomalacia. If your diet is inadequate in vitamin D, then a supplement may be necessary. You should check with your health care provider and a registered dietitian before taking any supplements to make sure the type and amount are appropriate for your needs.
Doctors often recommend a vitamin D supplement in combination with calcium for people who are vitamin D deficient. For most people, 800 to 1,000 units per day from supplements and dietary sources will suffice. For those with severe deficiency, a prescription dose of vitamin D for several months followed by a supplement to be continued indefinitely may be necessary.
First determine that you are vitamin D deficient. Consult your doctor, who may order a blood test to determine your vitamin D level. If you're deficient, your doctor my recommend daily or seasonal vitamin D supplementation.
Some foods contain some vitamin D, but not enough to meet the daily requirement. Too much vitamin D can cause side effects, so take only what your doctor recommends. The body regulates the amount of vitamin D it makes in the sun, but cannot protect against excess vitamin D from supplements.
Dietary guidelines from The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies recommend 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D daily for children over the age of one and for teens and adults up to age 70. For those over 70, 800 IU is recommended.
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