Vitamin D: Beyond bone

Sylvia Christakos, Martin Hewison, David G. Gardner, Carol L. Wagner, Igor N. Sergeev, Erica Rutten, Anastassios G. Pittas, Ricardo Boland, Luigi Ferrucci, Daniel D. Bikle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


In recent years, vitamin D has been received increased attention due to the resurgence of vitamin D deficiency and rickets in developed countries and the identification of extraskeletal effects of vitamin D, suggesting unexpected benefits of vitamin D in health and disease, beyond bone health. The possibility of extraskeletal effects of vitamin D was first noted with the discovery of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) in tissues and cells that are not involved in maintaining mineral homeostasis and bone health, including skin, placenta, pancreas, breast, prostate and colon cancer cells, and activated T cells. However, the biological significance of the expression of the VDR in different tissues is not fully understood, and the role of vitamin D in extraskeletal health has been a matter of debate. This report summarizes recent research on the roles for vitamin D in cancer, immunity and autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular and respiratory health, pregnancy, obesity, erythropoiesis, diabetes, muscle function, and aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Cognitive function
  • Diabetes
  • Immunity
  • Muscle
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Vitamin D

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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