Focus on vitamin D and the adrenal gland

Horm Metab Res. 2015 Apr;47(4):239-46. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1396893. Epub 2015 Feb 27.


The main role of vitamin D is to maintain calcium and phosphorus homeostasis, thus preserving bone health. However, recent evidences have demonstrated that vitamin D may also play a role in a variety of nonskeletal disorders such as endocrine diseases and in particular type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, adrenal diseases, and the polycystic ovary syndrome. Despite controversial results on an association of low vitamin D levels with cortisol and aldosterone overproduction, encouraging in vitro findings have been reported on vitamin D effects in adrenocortical cancer cells. The focus of this review is the role of vitamin D in adrenal diseases and the results of vitamin D supplementation studies in patients. Although many studies support a beneficial role of vitamin D in adrenal disease, randomized controlled trials and mechanistic studies are required to provide more insight into the efficacy and safety of vitamin D as a therapeutic tool.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Addison Disease / genetics
  • Adrenal Cortex Neoplasms
  • Adrenal Glands / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Cushing Syndrome
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Male
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / physiology
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / genetics
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D