Although vitamin D has been reported to have pleiotropic effects including effects on the immune system and on cancer progression, the principal action of vitamin D is the maintenance of calcium and phosphate homeostasis. The importance of vitamin D in this process is emphasized by the consequences of vitamin D deficiency which includes rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D deficiency has also been reported to increase the risk of falls and osteoporotic fractures. Although vitamin D fortification of foods (including dairy products) has contributed to a marked decrease in rickets in the Western world, vitamin D deficiency in children and adults is still prevalent world-wide. This review summarizes new developments in our understanding of vitamin D endocrine system and addresses clinical syndromes related to abnormalities in vitamin D metabolism and action. In addition, the current understanding of the evaluation of vitamin D deficiency and sufficiency and recommendations for achieving vitamin D sufficiency are discussed.
Keywords: Bone; Calcium homeostasis; Fibroblast growth factor 23; Intestine; Kidney; Parathyroid hormone; Randomized controlled clinical trials; Vitamin D; Vitamin D metabolism.
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