Vitamin D & Public Health


Historically vitamin D is known to be essential for normal bone growth and quality, and thus appropriate dietary vitamin D supplementation can eliminate vitamin D deficiency childhood rickets and adult osteomalacia.

In spite of many government and medical associations' worldwide guidelines for the reference daily intake (RDI) of vitamin D, scientists and nutritionists from many countries agree that at present about half of elderly North Americans and Western Europeans and probably also of the rest of the world are not receiving enough vitamin D to maintain healthy bone.

In addition, over the past decade there has been a dramatic increase in our understanding of the many biological actions that result from vitamin D acting through its daughter steroid hormone, 1a,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1a,25(OH)2D3] in collaboration with its cognate vitamin D receptor (VDR).

Consequently, evidence has accumulated that beside intestine and bone, there are five additional physiological systems where the VDR with 1a,25(OH)2D generates biological responses.

These include the immune system (both the innate and adaptive), pancreas and metabolic homeostasis, heart-cardiovascular, muscle and brain systems as well as the control of the cell cycle, and thus of the disease process of cancer. Acting through the VDR, 1a,25(OH)2D3 can produce a wide array of favorable biological effects that collectively are projected to contribute to the improvement of human health.

Responsible medicine demands that worldwide vitamin D nutritional guidelines reflect current scientific knowledge about vitamin D's spectrum of activities.

by Anthony W Norman1 and Roger Bouillon2
Published online on 28 July 2010 Exp Biol Med, doi: 10.1258/ebm.2010.010014

« Back