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Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2008;45(4):339-414. doi: 10.1080/10408360802165295 .

Vitamin D: a growing perspective.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.


Vitamin D deficiency has been widely reported in all age groups in recent years. Rickets has never been eradicated in developed countries, and it most commonly affects children from recent immigrant groups. There is much evidence that current vitamin D guidelines for the neonatal period, 5-10 microg (200-400 IU)/day, prevent rickets at the typical calcium intakes in developed countries. The annual incidence of vitamin D-deficiency rickets in developed countries ranges between 2.9 and 7.5 cases per 100,000 children. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in mothers and their neonates is remarkable, and the results of one study suggest that third-trimester 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) is associated with fetal bone mineral accrual that may affect prepubertal bone mass accumulation. Beyond infancy, the evidence indicates that 5 microg (200 IU)/day of vitamin D has little effect on vitamin D status as measured by the serum 25(OH)D concentration. Two randomized clinical trials show that higher vitamin D intake improves one-year gain in bone density in adolescent girls. The functions of vitamin D extend beyond bone to include immune system regulation and anti-proliferative effects on cells. Early life vitamin D inadequacy is implicated in the risk of bone disease, autoimmune disease, and certain cancers later in life; however, long-term interventional studies do not exist to validate the widespread implementation of greater vitamin D consumption. Here we review the available data concerning vitamin D status and health effects of vitamin D in pregnancy through to and including adolescence.

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