Vitamin D pp 17-37 | Cite as

Photobiology of Vitamin D

  • Tai C. Chen
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Vitamin D is one of the four fat-soluble vitamins that have been recognized to possess important biologic functions. The major physiologic effect of vitamin D is on calcium and bone metabolism, by maintaining extracellular concentrations of calcium and phosphorus within the normal range (1–3). During the past three decades, intensive research on vitamin D has revealed that it is a hormone and not a vitamin. Once vitamin D is formed in the skin, it requires two sequential hydroxylation reactions, first in the liver to form 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH-D), and then in the kidneys to form 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D]. It is 1,25(OH)2D that is responsible for enhancing the efficiency of intestinal absorption of dietary calcium and phosphorus, as well as the mobilization of calcium and phosphorus stores from bone (1–3). In addition, 1,25(OH)2D has other biologic actions in many tissues or cells that possess the 1,25(OH)2D receptor, including enhancement of cellular differentiation and/or inhibition of cellular proliferation in cultured fibroblasts and keratinocytes (2).


Human Skin Polar Bear Sunlight Exposure Cutaneous Production Melanin Pigmentation 
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