Question

What are the long-term consequences of vitamin D deficiency in adults?

The long-term consequences of low vitamin D status can be very serious. Protracted vitamin D deficiency causes impaired bone health, which can cause osteomalacia in adults.1 In adults, vitamin D deficiency can also lead to osteopenia / osteoporosis and increase risk of fracture.2 Pregnant women should maintain good levels of vitamin D to build adequate foetal stores for early infancy.3 

A low level of vitamin D is associated with poor muscle strength and balance which may lead to an increasing tendency to fall in some patients.4 

References

1. Vitamin D deficiency including osteomalacia and rickets. Available at: www.patient.co.uk/health/vitamin-d-deficiency-including-osteomalacia-and-rickets (accessed 10 August 2015).
2. Holick M. Vitamin D: a D-Lightful health perspective. Nutrition Reviews, 2008; 66(2):182-194.
3. DoH Guidance (Vitamin D advice on supplements for at risk groups. Letter from the UK Chief Medical Officers. Available at www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213703/dh_132508.pdf
4. Bischoff-Ferrari H et al. Effect of vitamin D on falls: a meta-analysis. JAMA, 2004; 291(16):1999-2006.