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Certified Clinical Densitometrist and Bone Health Expert

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Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency

Monday, April 13, 2009
 
Risk Factors for Vitamin D Deficiency

I’ve listed some of the specific risk factors for vitamin D below. Which ones apply to you and your family members?

  • Not enough exposure to sunshine when vitamin D producing UV-B rays are abundant.
  • Dark pigmented skin without enough sun exposure.
  • Daily use of sunscreens or sunblock – (SPF 15 blocks 95% of UV-B rays)
  • Living in northern latitudes (above San Francisco on the west coast; Richmond, Virginia on the east coast). Remember - the farther away from the equator, the fewer UV-B rays.
  • Living in foggy and/or smoggy areas (Fog and smog reduce UV-B rays.)
  • Indoor jobs or nightshift work that require sleeping during the day.
  • Aging – skin thins as we age and produces less vitamin D.
  • A strict vegetarian diet, if no additional supplementation is added.
  • Diets high in processed foods.
  • Low-fat diets - vitamin D is fat-soluble.
  • Digestion problems, especially fat malabsorption syndrome.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
  • Cushing’s syndrome.
  • Surgical removal of segments of the small intestine.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Kidney and liver disease.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Excessive caffeine or salt.
  • Cigarette smoking.
  • Chronic use of antacids.
  • Medications – many medications interfere with vitamin D absorption and synthesis.
  • Living and working where tall buildings or trees block the sun.
  • Living in nursing homes, prisons, or other confined situations.

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