Adequate vitamin D status is necessary and beneficial for health, although deficiency plagues much of the world's population. In addition to reducing the risk for bone disease, vitamin D plays a role in reduction of falls, as well as decreases in pain, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, mortality, and cognitive function. On the basis of this emerging understanding, improving patients' vitamin D status has become an essential aspect of primary care. Although some have suggested increased sun exposure to increase serum vitamin D levels, this has the potential to induce photoaging and skin cancer, especially in patients at risk for these conditions. Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency can be both corrected and prevented safely through supplementation.
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