Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome Vdds

Vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem in the United States and around the world. Some researchers have proposed giving a name to the various health problems linked to this vitamin deficiency: Vitamin D deficiency syndrome, or VDDS.

In the United States, as many as 36 percent of adults have insufficient levels of vitamin D, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Certain people (particularly those at the non-profit Vitamin D Council) have proposed that this vitamin deficiency leads to something they call “vitamin D deficiency syndrome”.

VDDS - Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome

What is VDDS?

Vitamin D deficiency syndrome is a group of symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency. VDDS may exist if blood levels of vitamin D are below 25 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). (Your doctor can do a blood test to determine if you have low vitamin D levels).

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency syndrome may include:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Certain cancers (such as breast, colon and prostate cancer)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoporosis

These diseases are not necessarily caused by low vitamin D. However, they have been associated with vitamin D deficiency by some researchers.

Factors Contributing to VDDS

Some people are at risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency, including:

  • Breast-fed infants
  • Individuals who are obese
  • Older adults
  • People who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk products
  • People whose kidneys can’t convert vitamin D into its active form
  • People with certain health conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis or celiac disease
  • People with little sun exposure
  • Those who have had gastric bypass surgery
  • Those with dark skin
  • Vegetarians and vegans.

Certain medications and supplements can also reduce vitamin D levels or make it more difficult for your body to absorb vitamin D, including:

  • Certain anti-seizure drugs
  • Cholestyramine (also known as Questran, LoCholest and Prevalite)
  • Colestipol
  • Corticosteroids
  • Mineral oil
  • Orlistat (also known as Xenical or alli)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin (also known as Dilantin)
  • Rifampin
  • Stimulant laxatives.

Early signs of vitamin D deficiency include muscle weakness and bone pain. However, you may be vitamin D deficient even if you do not have any symptoms.

Testing vitamin D levels can help you determine if you need to take steps to increase your vitamin D intake, such as adding vitamin D supplements to your diet. Usually, simple actions such as spending more time in the sun, adding vitamin D-rich foods to your diet, or taking supplements, can quickly correct a vitamin D deficiency.


Cannell, J. (2003). Vitamin D deficiency syndrome. Retrieved December 27, 2009, from the Vitamin D Council Web site:

Marcus, M. (2008). Adults still risk vitamin D deficiency. Retrieved December 27, 2009, from the USA Today Web site:

National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements Staff. (2009). Dietary supplement fact sheet: Vitamin D. Retrieved December 27, 2009 from the National Institutes of Health website: