Journal of Food and Nutritional DisordersISSN: 2324-9323

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Vitamin D: Genetics, Environment & Health

Vitamin D: Genetics, Environment & Health

Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin” was once thought to be a micronutrient that was solely important for development, growth, and the maintenance of a healthy skeleton. Today, the risk and consequences of vitamin D deficiency extend well beyond the original recognition of its contribution to diseases such as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Consideration now has its focus on the wide distribution of the vitamin D receptor in cells and tissues, along with the plethora of diverse biologic actions reported for calcitriol, the active form of the vitamin. This renaissance of interest in this micronutrient may explain how the vitamin D related phenomena can modify risk for such a great variety of diseases. Australia, a continent with an average sunshine quota of 3000 hours/year, and the highest skin cancer rates in the world, has been reported to have an increasing incidence of vitamin D deficiency across all ages of the population. This had led to confusion regarding vitamin D recommendations, particularly dietary requirements and the relative merits of sun exposure versus protection in the context of skin cancer risk. This review examines health benefits of vitamin D from a molecular, environmental, evolutionary and health perspective. Current vitamin D fortification trends and the vitamins overall importance across the human lifecycle in respect of various clinical phenotypes are discussed.

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