What Happens When Vitamin D Levels Are Too Low?

In infants and young children, severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets. Rickets is a condition in which the growth plates develop abnormally. This can lead to bowing (arching or curving) of the legs.

Children with rickets can also have the following symptoms:

  • Swollen and painful wrists and ribs
  • Prominent forehead (forehead that is more noticeable than usual)

If vitamin D is too low, bones can also develop osteomalacia (softening of the bones), which can be painful and make the bones more likely to fracture (break).

Finally, if vitamin D is too low, the body may have low calcium levels in the blood. This can cause feelings of “pins and needles”, muscle cramps and seizures.

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Rev. 8/2019. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.