Rickets - Vitamin D Deficiency in Infants
by Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
in the city did. Children in the farms got sunlight, children in the city did not.

In 1913, Hans Steenboick at the University of Wisconsin showed that lactating goats
kept indoors got rickets, while those let outside did not. In 1923, Elmer McColum at
Johns Hopkins showed that cod liver oil prevented rickets. Now we had to explain
why sunlight and cod liver oil prevent rickets. 1924, Adolf Windaus in Gottingen,
Germany isolated the chemical that prevents rickets and it was called vitamin D.
1931, Michael Holick at the Massachusetts General Hospital showed that vitamin D3
was produced by sunlight on the skin. The darker the skin, the more exposure to
sunlight is needed to get enough vitamin D.

Humans rarely get enough vitamin D from food, so they have to depend on sunlight
to make it in their skin. The reason we are seeing Vitamin D deficiency today is that
many people do not get enough sunlight because they are brought up in cold
weather climates, or avoid sunlight because of fear of skin cancer, or spend all their
time indoors. So now doctors are seeing rickets where mothers lack vitamin D,
breastfeed, protect their infants from sunlight, and do not use vitamin supplements.


About The Author

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician
for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports
medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at
.  .
Many people believe that rickets (soft
bones and other developmental
problems) is no longer a problem, but
it has shown up again in children who
are breast-fed and dark-skinned. Up
until 1920, rickets was common. It's
caused by lack of vitamin D.

Rickets was caused by the industrial
revolution with thick clouds of dust
and people working 18 hours a day,
and even when they got outdoors,
the dark clouds prevented them from
get sun. In 1822, physicians in
Warsaw showed that children in the
suburbs didn't get rickets, while those
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