Vitamin D deficiency and kidney disease: Low vitamin D levels are a common complication of kidney disease. If you consistently have low vitamin D levels, please do not ignore it because the underlying cause could be a gradually progressing kidney disease.


If your kidneys are not working properly or efficiently, then you could be at risk of developing the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Brain stroke
  • Anemia
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Brittle bones (osteoporosis) leading to fractures

Chronic Kidney Disease and Vitamin D Deficiency

Let us try to understand the link between low vitamin D levels and chronic kidney disease.

Your kidneys are very important for your overall health and well-being because they regulate your blood pressure, fluid balance, and electrolyte levels and perform several other functions to keep you healthy.

In addition to filtering and removing toxins and wastes from the body, kidneys perform vital roles such as releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure; making red blood cells, and converting vitamin D into its active form. The active form of vitamin D helps absorb calcium from your intestines to keep your bones strong and healthy.

The link between vitamin D deficiency and kidney disease

Kidneys play an essential role in the metabolism of vitamin D and its regulation in the bloodstream. Healthy kidneys efficiently convert the inactive form of vitamin D into its active form. Chronic kidney disease leads to the loss of kidney function and its ability to activate vitamin D. Thus, the level of active (usable) vitamin D is reduced in the body. This occurs in all stages of chronic kidney disease.

In view of low Vitamin D levels, calcium is not absorbed from intestines leading to low calcium levels in the body. This can lead to thinning of the bones, and hence, all patients with kidney disease are at high risk of fractures.

To compensate for the low calcium levels, a parathyroid gland in the body which is present in the neck close to the thyroid gland becomes activated, and parathyroid hormone levels become high in the body. This also removes calcium from the bones and causes bone thinning and high fracture risk.

Major fractures in kidney patients can increase the risk of death.

Bottom Line

Vitamin D deficiency can also be due to other factors – less exposure to sunlight; liver disease, and insufficient consumption of vitamin D through diet.

All patients with kidney disease need to check calcium and vitamin D levels and need to take regular calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

Along with this exposure to sunlight in the morning, regular exercise is also important to strengthen your bones.

Do not neglect your bone health!