Targeted 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration measurements and vitamin D3 supplementation can have important patient and public health benefits

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020 Mar;74(3):366-376. doi: 10.1038/s41430-020-0564-0. Epub 2020 Jan 29.


Over the past two decades, many studies reported the benefits of higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentrations for nonskeletal effects. Researchers found significant benefits in reducing risk of acute respiratory tract infections, many types of cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, premature death, and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. In addition, 25(OH)D concentrations are low for various reasons in several categories of people, including the obese, those with dark skin living at higher latitudes, the elderly, and those who do not eat much eggs, fish, meat, or vitamin D fortified milk. Measuring 25(OH)D concentrations is one way to both increase the awareness of vitamin D's importance in maintaining good health and to encourage vitamin D supplementation or increased solar ultraviolet-B exposure to sustain well-being throughout life by reducing disease incidence. Although 20 ng/ml seems adequate to reduce risk of skeletal problems and acute respiratory tract infections, concentrations above 30 ng/ml have been associated with reduced risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. Thus, judicious testing of 25(OH)D concentrations could reduce disease incidence and make treatment expenditures more cost-effective.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / prevention & control
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Public Health
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / prevention & control


  • Vitamin D
  • Cholecalciferol
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D