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Indian J Pediatr. 2013 Mar;80(3):215-8. doi: 10.1007/s12098-012-0877-7. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Use of vitamin D in various disorders.

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  • 1Growth and Pediatric Endocrine Unit, Hirabai Cowasji Jehangir Medical Research Institute, Jehangir Hospital, Pune, India.


Approximately 1 billion people worldwide have been identified as vitamin D deficient in the 21st century, and the number is on the rise; non-classical actions of vitamin D were initially recognized around 30 y ago when receptors for vitamin D were detected in neoplastic cells lines. The aim of this review is to provide a brief overview of the non-classical actions of vitamin D. Reports describing the associations of non skeletal actions of vitamin D, especially pertaining to the immune system, inflammatory disorders, cancers and cardiovascular disease have been summarized in this paper. Reports support a role for the active form of vitamin D in mediating normal function of both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Studies also suggest a link between vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus and type 1 diabetes. There is believed to be an inverse association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and the incidence of colorectal cancer, sporadic colorectal adenoma and breast cancer. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with various cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, myocardial infarction, and stroke. Several epidemiological and genetic studies suggest a strong association between vitamin D and non skeletal acute and chronic disorders. However, currently, robust clinical data are still lacking to support raising intake requirements and target vitamin D plasma levels. Nonetheless, the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is alarming and requires implementation of clear supplementation guidelines.

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