Stefania Makariou, Evangelos N Liberopoulos, Anna Challa
Until recently the main known role of vitamin D, which is mainly produced in the skin, is to control bone metabolism as well as calcium and phosphorus homeostasis. During the last 2 decades it has been realized that vitamin D regulates the expression of a large number of genes, while vitamin D deficiency, which is really common worldwide, could be a novel risk factor for many chronic diseases. Specifically, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with the metabolic syndrome and its components (central obesity, hypertension, atherogenic dyslipidemia and impaired glucose metabolism), the whole spectrum of cardiovascular diseases, several auto-immune conditions and many types of cancer as well as all-cause mortality. The above presumptions are supported not only by a great number of epidemiological studies, but also by the identification of vitamin D receptors (VDRs) in many tissues and cells. The effect of vitamin D supplementation remains controversial and the need for more persuasive study outcomes is intense.
Keywords: Vitamin D, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, mortality