Vitamin D: Vitamin or Hormone?

Nurs Clin North Am. 2021 Mar;56(1):47-57. doi: 10.1016/j.cnur.2020.10.004. Epub 2020 Dec 28.


Vitamin D can be obtained from diet, direct sunlight, or supplementation. The most common form is synthesized in the skin after exposure to ultraviolet B radiation. Nevertheless, the thought is that vitamin D is more of a multifunctional hormone or prohormone. This is because vitamin D plays contributes to many processes in the body. Calcitriol has been shown to have enhancing effects on the immune system, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system, and other metabolic pathways. There is evidence that vitamin D has also a role in depression, pain, and cancer.

Keywords: Pathophysiology of vitamin D; Uses of vitamin D; Vitamin D; Vitamin D and pain; Vitamin D as a hormone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Calcitriol / metabolism*
  • Cholecalciferol / metabolism*
  • Cholecalciferol / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Protective Agents / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Sunlight
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control*


  • Antioxidants
  • Protective Agents
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Cholecalciferol
  • Calcitriol