Vitamin D in Health and Prevention of Metabolic Bone Disease

  • Michael F. Holick
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)


Vitamin D is not in the strict sense a vitamin, but a hormone. Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin by the action of sunlight. Once vitamin D is formed in the skin or ingested in the diet, it journeys to the liver and kidney, where it is hydroxylated sequentially on carbons 25 and 1, respectively, to form its biologically active form 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D). The major physiologic function of vitamin D is to maintain the extra-cellular and blood concentrations of calcium within the physiologic range in order to maintain cellular activities and neuromuscular function. Vitamin D is not only important for the skeletal health in healthy growing children, but this hormone is also essential for maintaining a healthy skeleton throughout our lives. Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are now being recognized as a major health problem for the elderly.


Bone Mineral Density Parathyroid Gland Nonvertebral Fracture Metabolic Bone Disease Intestinal Calcium Absorption 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

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  • Michael F. Holick

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