The effects of vitamin d deficiency and insufficiency on the endocrine and paracrine systems

Patricia T. Alpert, Ulfat Shaikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Individuals are capable of producing vitamin D with proper exposure to sunlight. However, several factors can interfere with the effectiveness of this process. Most sunscreens filter out UVB light, thus inhibiting vitamin D production. Individuals with more darkly pigmented skin have greater difficulty producing vitamin D because melanin acts as an effective natural sunscreen, requiring longer sun exposure to produce an adequate daily allotment of vitamin D. Additionally, solely breastfed infants whose mothers suffered from vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency when pregnant have smaller reserves of the nutrient and are at greater risk of developing nutritional rickets. Vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. Long-term vitamin D insufficiency can lead to paracrine effects such as type 1 diabetes, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. This article reviews the current literature on vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency and their relation to different disease states. Potential areas for research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages13
JournalBiological Research for Nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Ergocalciferol
  • Hypovitaminosis D
  • Nutritional rickets
  • Osteomalacia
  • Vitamin D deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Research and Theory


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