Neurosteroid hormone vitamin D and its utility in clinical nutrition

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2007 Jan;10(1):12-9. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328010ca18.


Purpose of review: Vitamin D is a seco-steroid hormone with multiple functions in the nervous system. We discuss clinical and experimental evidence of the role of vitamin D in normal and pathological brain functions, and analyze the relative importance of vitamin D-modulated brain mechanisms at different stages of life. We also outline perspectives for the use of vitamin D in clinical nutrition to prevent or treat various brain disorders.

Recent findings: Numerous brain dysfunctions are linked to vitamin D deficits and/or dysfunctions of its receptors. In both animals and humans, vitamin D serves as an important endogenous and/or exogenous regulator of neuroprotection, antiepileptic and anticalcification effects, neuro-immunomodulation, interplay with neurotransmitters and hormones, modulation of behaviors, brain ageing, and some other, less-explored, brain processes.

Summary: Vitamin D emerges as an important neurosteroid hormone in the brain, with a strong potential for age-specific applications in clinical nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology*
  • Vitamins / physiology*
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D