Prevention and treatment of nutritional rickets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Nicholas Shaw

Colleges, School and Institutes


Nutritional rickets continues to be a significant health problem for children worldwide with recent evidence of increasing incidence in many developed countries. It is due to vitamin D deficiency and/or inadequate dietary calcium intake with variation in the relative contributions of each of these dependant on environmental factors such a dietary intake and sunlight exposure. Key to the prevention of rickets is ensuring that pregnant women and their infants receive vitamin D supplementation with good evidence from randomised controlled trials that infants who receive 400 iu daily can achieve levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D of >50 nmol/l. However, public health implementation of daily supplementation is more challenging with a need to revisit food fortification strategies to ensure optimal vitamin D status of the population. Treatment of nutritional rickets has traditionally been with vitamin D2 or D3, often given as a daily oral dose for several weeks until biochemical and radiological evidence of healing. However, other treatment regimes with single or intermittent high doses have also proved to be effective. It is now recognised that oral calcium either as dietary intake or supplements should be routinely used in conjunction with vitamin D for treatment.


Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Early online date19 Oct 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2015


  • Nutritional rickets, Vitamin D, Dietary calcium deficiency