Why are certain people prone to vitamin D deficiencies?

Some people are at risk of vitamin D deficiency because they don't get enough of it in their diets or from sun exposure, while others have medical conditions that make it hard for their bodies to absorb and make use of vitamin D.

Groups at high risk include breast-fed infants whose mothers don't get enough vitamin D. (Experts say that all breast-fed or partially breast-fed infants should get a vitamin D supplement.) Older adults, whose skin may become less able to convert sunlight into vitamin D, are also at risk, as are darker-skinned people such as African Americans, who produce less vitamin D from sunlight than lighter-skinned people.

Another at-risk group for vitamin D deficiency are people who have difficulty absorbing fat -- vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin -- such as those with Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis or liver disease. People who are obese may also require a vitamin D supplement because their bodies need larger intakes of the vitamin to achieve normal levels. Individuals who have gastric bypass surgery to lose weight may also need extra vitamin D.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.