Common misconceptions about vitamin D--implications for clinicians

Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2013 Jul;9(7):434-8. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2013.75. Epub 2013 Apr 23.


Misconceptions about vitamin D continue to grow despite publications in the past few years that have attempted to clarify risk. We present our perspective, and offer several conclusions. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation can reduce fracture risk by ∼10%. On the other hand, little evidence exists to support a threshold measure for vitamin D status (serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D) above which fractures are reduced. The association of serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D with other chronic diseases is confounded by multiple factors and conflicting outcomes that cannot be used to support a causal association. High doses of vitamin D supplements might not be completely harmless and should be avoided until additional data becomes available. Similarly, scant rationale exists for aggressive vitamin D supplementation for pregnant or lactating women. Dispelling misconceptions about vitamin D will ultimately benefit health-care providers and patients alike.

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis / blood
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D