Vitamin D for health and in chronic kidney disease

Semin Dial. Jul-Aug 2005;18(4):266-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-139X.2005.18402.x.


Vitamin D is taken for granted and is not appreciated for its importance in overall health and well-being. Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is appreciated as being important for the prevention of rickets in children. It is now recognized that vitamin D is important for not only the growing skeleton, but for the maintenance of a healthy musculoskeletal system throughout life. Vitamin D deficiency in adults precipitates and exacerbates osteoporosis and causes the painful bone disease osteomalacia. The revelation that vitamin D is biologically inactive and requires sequential hydroxylations in the liver and kidney to form 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D helps explain why patients with renal failure are often resistant to vitamin D and suffer from secondary hyperparathyroidism and renal osteodystrophy. In addition to its role in maintaining calcium and phosphorus homeostasis, vitamin D is now being recognized as important for maintaining maximum muscle strength and for the prevention of many chronic diseases, including type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular heart disease, and many common cancers. Vitamin D status is best determined by the measurement of circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Vigilance for maintaining a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of at least 20 ng/ml and preferably 30-50 ng/ml has important benefits for both healthy children and adults, as well as children and adults suffering from chronic kidney disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / prevention & control
  • Bone Diseases / etiology
  • Bone Diseases / prevention & control
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Diet
  • Humans
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Sunlight*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control


  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium