Protean Manifestations of Vitamin D Deficiency, Part 2

Deficiency and Its Association With Autoimmune Disease, Cancer, Infection, Asthma, Dermopathies, Insulin Resistance, and Type 2 Diabetes

David S.H. Bell, MD


South Med J. 2011;104(5):335-339. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic and its manifestations are protean. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with autoimmune diseases (particularly multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes) and has been associated with infection, allergy, asthma, and dermopathies (particularly psoriasis). Asthma may be worsened by vitamin D deficiency and correction of the deficiency has been shown to improve the manifestations of asthma. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with multiple cancers, including those of the breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Due mainly to increased insulin resistance but also to an impairment in insulin release, vitamin D deficiency is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. In addition, the complications of diabetes may be worsened by vitamin D deficiency.


Currently largely due to decreased exposure to sunlight and the epidemic of obesity over the past twnety years there has been an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. While vitamin D deficiency is classically associated with rickets and osteomalacia its effects are protean. In this article, I review some of these associations-autoimmune diseases, cancer, dermopathies, infection, asthma, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.


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