Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to alter insulin synthesis and secretion in both humans and animal models. It has been reported that vitamin D deficiency may predispose to glucose intolerance, altered insulin secretion and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Vitamin D replenishment improves glycaemia and insulin secretion in patients with type 2 diabetes with established hypovitaminosis D, thereby suggesting a role for vitamin D in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The presence of vitamin D receptors (VDR) and vitamin D-binding proteins (DBP) in pancreatic tissue and the relationship between certain allelic variations in the VDR and DBP genes with glucose tolerance and insulin secretion have further supported this hypothesis. The mechanism of action of vitamin D in type 2 diabetes is thought to be mediated not only through regulation of plasma calcium levels, which regulate insulin synthesis and secretion, but also through a direct action on pancreatic beta-cell function. Therefore, owing to its increasing relevance, this review focuses on the role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus.