Vitamin D Effect on Bone Mineral Density and Fractures

Endocrinol Metab Clin North Am. 2017 Dec;46(4):935-945. doi: 10.1016/j.ecl.2017.07.005. Epub 2017 Sep 29.


One hundred years ago, vitamin D was identified as the cause and cure of osteomalacia. This role remains firmly established. Vitamin D influences skeletal mineralization principally through the regulation of intestinal calcium absorption. It has been proposed that vitamin D has direct beneficial effects on bone (besides the prevention of osteomalacia), but these have been difficult to establish in clinical trials. Meta-analyses of vitamin D trials show no effects on bone density or fracture risk when the baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D is >40 nmol/L. A daily dose of 400 to 800 IU vitamin D3 is usually adequate to correct such deficiency.

Keywords: Bone density; Calcium; Fracture; Osteomalacia; Osteoporosis; Vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Fractures, Bone / blood
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D