According to a recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine, vitamin D deficiencies are common in children and adults even though a lot of processed foods are fortified with this essential nutrient. In utero and during childhood, vitamin D deficiency can inhibit growth, cause skeletal deformation and may increase the risk of hip fracture later in life. Vitamin D deficiency in adults can contribute to muscle weakness, osteopenia, osteoporosis, and a numberof other diseases. Additionally, the review stated that much evidence suggests the recommended daily intakes are inadequate and need to be increased to at least 800 IU's of vitamin D3 per day. Unless a person eats oily fish on a regular basis, it is difficult to obtain this level from dietary sources. Therefore, sensible sun exposure and the intake of supplements are needed to fulfill the body's vitamin D requirement. For more information go to the New England Journal of Medicine, July 2007.