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Eur J Intern Med. 2011 Aug;22(4):355-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2011.04.012. Epub 2011 May 31.

Novel roles of vitamin D in disease: what is new in 2011?

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Department of Internal Medicine, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.


Vitamin D is a steroid molecule, mainly produced in the skin that regulates the expression of a large number of genes. Until recently its main known role was to control bone metabolism and calcium and phosphorus homeostasis. During the last 2 decades it has been realized that vitamin D deficiency, which is really common worldwide, could be a new risk factor for many chronic diseases, such as the metabolic syndrome and its components, the whole spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, several auto-immune conditions, and many types of cancer as well as all-cause mortality. Except for the great number of epidemiological studies that support the above presumptions, vitamin D receptors (VDRs) have been identified in many tissues and cells. The effect of vitamin D supplementation remains controversial and the need for more persuasive study outcomes is intense.

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