Osteomalacia caused by inadequate sun exposure or a diet low in vitamin D often can be prevented. Here are a few suggestions to help reduce your risk of developing osteomalacia:

  • Eat foods high in vitamin D. These include foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D, such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and egg yolks. Also look for foods that are fortified with vitamin D, such as cereal, bread, milk and yogurt.
  • Take supplements, if needed. If you don't get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet or if you have a medical condition affecting the ability of your digestive system to absorb nutrients properly, ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement and a calcium supplement.

Although a lack of sun exposure is linked to the development of osteomalacia, spending time in the sun can't currently be recommended for prevention or treatment. That's because it's not clear how much sun you would need to prevent or treat osteomalacia, and because unprotected sun exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer. There's currently no consensus among experts about what amount of sun exposure is safe.

April 18, 2014