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Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2012 Nov;15(6):567-79. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283594978.

Optimize dietary intake of vitamin D: an epigenetic perspective.

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Department of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology, Nutrition, and Diabetes, Vitamin D, Skin and Bone Research Laboratory, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02118, USA.



Vitamin D has received global attention because of its many health benefits. Although there is general agreement about the importance of vitamin D for bone health, there remains skepticism about the nonskeletal health benefits of vitamin D. This review will not only focus on the vitamin D deficiency pandemic and ways to treat and prevent vitamin D deficiency but will also explore the epigenetic mechanisms of vitamin D that could help explain many of the nonskeletal benefits of enhancing vitamin D status.


The Institute of Medicine and the Endocrine Society have made new recommendations for vitamin D intake to prevent vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is defined as a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level below 20 ng/ml and vitamin D insufficiency is defined as 21-29 ng/ml. Recent observations have suggested that vitamin D can influence epigenetics which may help explain the nonskeletal health benefits that have been reported for vitamin D.


There is general agreement that vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health problem. This is due in part to the lack of appreciation that sunlight is an important source of vitamin D. There is no downside to increasing vitamin D intake and recent observations suggesting that vitamin D influences epigenetics provide a new insight for the importance of vitamin D in utero in reducing risk of chronic diseases later in life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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