Vitamin D pp 1-16 | Cite as

Evolution, Biologic Functions, and Recommended Dietary Allowances for Vitamin D

  • Michael F. Holick
Part of the Nutrition and Health book series (NH)


Approximately 400 million years ago, as vertebrates ventured from the ocean onto land, they were confronted with a significant crisis. As they had evolved in the calcium-rich ocean environment, they utilized this abundant cation for signal transduction and a wide variety of cellular and metabolic processes. In addition, calcium became a major component of the skeleton of marine animals and provided the “cement” for structural support. However, on land, the environment was deficient in calcium; as a result, early marine vertebrates that ventured onto land needed to develop a mechanism to utilize and process the scarce amounts of calcium in their environment in order to maintain their calcium-dependent cellular and metabolic activities and also satisfy the large requirement for calcium to mineralize their skeletons.


Recommend Dietary Allowance Adequate Dietary Intake Concentration Of25 Intestinal Calcium Absorption Epiphyseal Plate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Holick MF. Vitamin D: photobiology, metabolism, mechanism of action, and clinical application. In: Primer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism, 3rd ed. Favus MJ, ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 1996; 74–81.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Holick MF. Vitamin D: photobiology, metabolism, and clinical applications. In: Endocrinology, 3rd ed. DeGroot L, et al., eds. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 1995; 990–1013.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Strugnell SA, DeLuca HF: The vitamin D receptor-structure and transcriptional activation. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1997; 215: 223–228.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Holick MF: Phylogenetic and evolutionary aspects of vitamin D from phytoplankton to humans. In:. Vertebrate Endocrinology: Fundamentals and Biomedical Implications, Vol 3. Pang PKT, Schreibman MP, eds. Orlando, FL: Academic Press, 1989; 7–43.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Holick MF: McCollum Award Lecture, 1994: Vitamin D: new horizons for the 21st century. Am J Clin Nutr 1994; 60: 619–630.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Holick MF: The evolution of vitamin D from phytoplankton to man. In: Vitamin D: Chemistry, Biology and Clinical Applications of the Steroid Hormone. (Proceedings of the Tenth Workshop on Vitamin D). Norman AW, Bouillon R, Thomasset M, eds. Riverside: University of California Press, 1997; 771–776.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fraser D, Scriver CR: Disorders associated with hereditary or acquired abnormalities of vitamin D function: hereditary disorders associated with vitamin D resistance or defective phosphate metabolism. In: Endocrinology. De Groot et al., eds. New York: Grune & Stratton, 1979; 797–808.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Holtrop ME, Cox KA, Carnes DL, Holick MF: Skeletal mineralization in vitamin D-deficient rats. Am J Physiol 1986; 251: E20.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Underwood JL, DeLuca HF: Vitamin D is not directly necessary for bone growth and mineralization. Am J Physiol 1984; 246: E493 - E498.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Clemens, TL, Henderson SL, Adams JS, Holick MF: Increased skin pigment reduces the capacity of skin to synthesize vitamin D3. Lancet 1982; 1: 74–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Matsuoka LY, Ide L, Wortsman J, MacLaughlin J, Holick MF: Sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1987; 64: 1165–1168.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Holick MF, Matsuoka LY, Wortsman J.: Age, vitamin D, and solar ultraviolet radiation. Lancet 1989; 2: 1104–1105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Webb AR, Kline L, Holick MF: Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1988; 67: 373–378.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Tanner JT, Smith J, Defibaugh P, Angyal G, Villalobos M, Bueno M, McGarrahan E: Survey of vitamin content of fortified milk. J Assoc Off Anal Chem 1988; 71: 607–610.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Holick MF, Shao Q, Liu WW, Chen TC: The vitamin D content of fortified milk and infant formula. N Engl J Med 1992; 326: 1178–1181.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Chen TC, Heath H, Holick MF: An update on the vitamin D content of fortified milk from the United States and Canada. N Engl J Med 1993; 329: 1507.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Markestad T, Elzouki AY: Vitamin D deficiency rickets in northern Europe and Libya. In: Rickets Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series. Glorieux FH, ed. New York: Raven, 1991; 203–213.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Specker BL, Valanis B, Hertzberg V, Edwards N, Tsang RC: Sunshine exposure and serum 25hydroxyvitamin D. J Pediatr 1985; 107: 372–376.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Specker BL, Tsang RC: Cyclical serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations paralleling sunshine exposure in exclusively breast-fed infants. J Pediatr 1987; 110: 744–747.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Food and Nutrition Board Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC: IOM National Academy Press, 1997; 7–30.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Nakao H: Nutritional significance of human milk vitamin D in neonatal period. Kobe J Med Sci 1988; 34: 21–128.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Holick MF: Reasonable vitamin D daily allowance. ARES-Serono Symposium, 1997, in press.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Feliciano ES, Ho ML, Specker BL, Falciglia G, et al. Seasonal and geographical variations in the growth rate of infants in China receiving increasing dosages of vitamin D supplements. J Trop Pediatr 1994; 40: 162–165.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Foman SJ, Younoszai K, Thomas L: Influence of vitamin D on linear growth of normal full-term infants. J Nutr 1966; 88: 345–350.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Specker B, Ho M, Oestreich A, Yin T, et al. Prospective study of vitamin D supplementation and rickets in China. J Pediatr 1992; 120: 733–739.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Pettifor JM, Ross FP, Moodley G, Wang J, et al. Serum calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, alkaline, phosphatase and 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in children. A Afr Med J 1978; 53: 751–754.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Aksnes L, Aarskog D: Plasma concentrations of vitamin D metabolites in puberty: effect of sexual maturation and implications for growth. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1982; 55: 94–101.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Gultekin A, Ozalp I, Hasanoglu A, Unal A: Serum-25-hydroxycholecalciferol levels in children and adolescents. Turkish J Pediatr 1987; 29: 155–162.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Ala-Houhala M, Koskinen T, Terho A, Koivula T, Visakorpi J: Maternal compared with infant vitamin D supplementation. Arch Dis Child 1986; 61: 1159–1163.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Riancho JA, del Arco C, Arteaga R, Herranz JL, Albajar M, Macias JG: Influence of solar irradiation on vitamin D levels in children on anticonvulsant drugs. Acta Neurol Scand 1989; 79: 296–299.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Taylor AF, Norman ME: Vitamin D metabolite levels in normal children. Pediatr Res 1984; 18: 886–890.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Oliveri MB, Ladizesky M, Mautalen CA, Alonso A, Martinez L: Seasonal variations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and parathyroid hormone in Ushuaia (Argentina), the southernmost city of the world. Bone Miner 1993; 20: 99–108.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Meier DE, Luckey MM, Wallenstein S, Clemens TL, et al. Calcium, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone status in young white and black women: association with racial differences in bone mass. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1991; 72: 703–710.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kinyamu HK, Gallagher JC, Galhorn KE, Petranick KM, Rafferty KA: Serum vitamin D metabolites and calcium absorption in normal young and elderly free-living women and in women living in nursing homes. Am J Clin Nutr 1997; 65: 790–797.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Holick MF: Vitamin D requirements for the elderly. Clin Nutr 1986; 5: 121–129.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Clemens TL, Zhou X, Myles M, Endres D, Lindsay R: Serum vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 metabolite concentrations and absorption of vitamin D2 in elderly subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1986; 63: 656–660.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Krall EA, Dawson-Hughes B: Relation of fractional 47Ca retention to season and rates of bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women. J Bone Miner Res 1991; 6: 1323–1329.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Krall EA, Dallal GE, Falconer G, Green CL: Rates of bone loss in postmenopausal women randomly assigned to one of two dosages of vitamin D. Am J Clin Nutr 1995; 61: 1140–1145.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Dawson-Hughes B, Dallal GE, Krall EA, Harris S, Sokoll LJ, Falconer G: Effect of vitamin D supplementation on wintertime and overall bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women. Ann Intern Med 1991; 115: 505–512.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Krall E, Sahyoun N, Tannenbaum S, Dallal G, Dawson-Hughes B: Effect of vitamin D intake on seasonal variations in parathyroid hormone secretion in postmenopausal women. N Engl J Med 1989; 321: 1777–1783.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Malabanan A, Veronikis IE, Holick MF: Redefining vitamin D deficiency. Lancet 1998; 351: 805, 806.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Chevalley T, Rizzoli R, Nydegger V, Slosman D, Rapin CH, Michel JP, Vasey H, Bonjour JP: Effects of calcium supplements on femoral bone mineral density and vertebral fracture rate in vitamin-Dreplete elderly patients. Osteopor Int 1994; 4: 245–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Hordon LD, Peacock M: Vitamin D metabolism in women with femoral neck fracture. Bone Miner 1987; 2: 413–426.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Lamberg-Allardt C, Karkkainen M, Seppanen R, Bistrom H: Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and secondary hyperparathyroidism in middle-aged white strict vegetarians. Am J Clin Nutr 1993; 58: 684–689.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Lips XX, Wiersinga A, van Ginkel FC, Jongen MJM, Netelenbos C, Hackeng WHL, et al. The effect of vitamin D supplementation on vitamin D status and parathyroid function in elderly subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1988; 67: 644–650.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    McGrath N, Singh V, Cundy T: Severe vitamin D deficiency in Auckland. NZ Med J 1993; 106: 525, 526.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Ng K, St. John A, Bruce DG: Secondary hyperparathyroidism, vitamin D deficiency and hip fracture: importance of sampling times after fracture. Bone Miner 1994; 25: 103–109.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Ooms ME, Lips P, Roos JC, Van Der Hijgh WJF, Popp-Snijders C, Bezemer PD, Bouter LM: Vitamin D status and sex hormone binding globulin: determinants of bone turnover and bone mineral density in elderly women. J Bone Miner Res 1995; 10: 1177–1184.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Villareal DT, Civitelli R, Chines A, Avioli LV: Subclinical vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women with low vertebral bone mass. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1991; 72: 628–634.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Webb AR, Pilbeam C, Hanafin N, Holick MF: An evaluation of the relative contributions of exposure to sunlight and diet on the circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in an elderly nursing home population in Boston. Am J Clin Nutr 1990; 51: 1075–1081.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Brazier M, Kamel S, Maamer M, Agbomson F, Elesper I, Garabedian M, Desmet G, Sebert JL: Markers of bone remodeling in the elderly subject: effects of vitamin D insufficiency and its correction. J Bone Miner Res 1996; 10: 1753–1761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Chapuy MC, Arlot M, Duboeuf F, Brun J, Crouzet B, Arnaud S, Delmas P, Meuner P: Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in elderly women. N Engl J Med 1992; 327: 1637–1642.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Egsmose C, Lund B, McNair P, Lund B, Storm T, Sorensen OH: Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and 1,25-dihydrovitamin D in institutionalized old people: influence of solar exposure and vitamin D supplementation. Age Ageing 1987; 16: 35–40.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Fardellone P, Sebert JL, Garabedian M, Bellony R, Maamer M, Agbomson F, Brazier M: Prevalence and biological consequences of vitamin D deficiency in elderly institutionalized subjects. Rev Rhum 1995; 62: 576–581.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Kamel S, Brazier M, Rogez JC, Vincent O, Maamer M, Desmet G, Sebert JL: Different responses of free and peptide-bound cross-links to vitamin D and calcium supplementation in elderly women with vitamin D insufficiency. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1996; 81: 3717–3721.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Krall EA, Dallal GE: Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on bone density in men and women 65 years of age or older. N Engl J Med 1997; 337: 670–676.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    McKenna MJ: Differences in vitamin D status between countries in young adults and the elderly. Am J Med 1992; 93: 69–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    McAlindon TE, Felson DT, Zhang Y, Hannan MT, Aliabadi P, Weissman B, Rush D, Wilson PWF, Jacques P: Relation of dietary intake and serum levels of vitamin D to progression of osteoarthritis of the knee among participants in the Framingham Study. Ann Intern Med 1996; 125: 353–359.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Bicknell F, Prescott F. Vitamin D. In: The Vitamins in Medicine, 2nd ed. Heineman W, ed. London: Random House UK, 1948; 630–708.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael F. Holick

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations