2021 New Facts About Vitamin D


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Vitamin D is an important nutrient for bone health and its deficiency considered as a disease of the past has re-emerged as an significant health concern. Exposure of the skin to sunlight is the major source of vitamin D and only a small proportion comes from food intake. Vitamin D also has a role in innate and adaptive immunity. The following is a list of facts about vitamin D based from research studies published in the year 2020.

  • In the United States, drinking milk is associated with higher levels of Vitamin D in the blood.
  • The vitamin D in the edible white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) can be amplified 400 times using a UV light.
  • Vitamin D may reduce cerebral vasospasm after subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is repeatedly reported in colorectal cancer.
  • Vitamin D metabolites are positively correlated with total cholesterol concentration in colorectal cancer patients.
  • Vitamin D is positively correlated with serum albumin in dysphagic patients.
  • Vitamin D supplementation is well documented to reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
  • Most deaths due to COVID-19 viral infection are statistically attributable to vitamin D deficiency.
  • In Ireland, South East Asian descent could be at a significantly increased risk of rickets, impaired bone metabolism, and osteoporosis which are correlated with vitamin D deficiency.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with acute and chronic illnesses, such as infectious, autoimmune, and cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and diabetes.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patient with chronic kidney disease.
  • Active vitamin D treatment can improve intestinal barriers against bacteria.
  • Low vitamin D levels is associated with chronic heart failure.
  • Vitamin D treatment can improve the ejection fraction of the heart.
  • Vitamin D supplementation does not improve liver enzymes, insulin resistance, glucose metabolism parameters, and lipid levels in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Vitamin D insufficiency during childhood and adolescence could cause adverse health outcomes.
  • In the elderly, low vitamin D status was associated with low-frequency and speech-frequency hearing loss.
  • Men with higher levels of vitamin D are more likely to possess butyrate producing bacteria that are associated with better gut microbial health.
  • Prenatal vitamin D supplementation may reduce blood pressure and improves placental angiogenesis.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased arterial stiffness in newly diagnosed hypertensive patients.
  • A woman with vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy will have her breast milk also deficient unless she is taking higher doses of vitamin D.
  • Inadequate vitamin D in infants can lead to increased risks of poor bone mineralization and rickets.
  • Evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency contributes to the seasonal increase of viral infections of the respiratory tract, from the common cold to influenza, and now possibly also COVID-19.
  • Vitamin D supplementation is particularly important for individuals with dark skin tones.
  • Vitamin D improves absorption of calcium however, in some animal studies, vitamin D also increases the absorption of toxic metals, such as lead and cadmium.
  • In human studies, vitamin D supplementation from the second trimester of pregnancy do not influence maternal cadmium, mercury, or manganese levels at delivery.
  • Combination supplement of vitamin D and calcium significantly decreased the incidence of lung cancer.
  • In a rural population exposed to sunlight many hours a day throughout their lives, low vitamin D levels is associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute exacerbations.
  • Vitamin D can inhibit the proliferation, invasion and metastasis of non-small cell lung cancer cells, promoting cell apoptosis and up-regulate the sensitivity of chemotherapy drugs.
  • Study suggest that active vitamin D such as alfacalcidol are more effective in the treatment of osteoporosis and prevention of fractures compared to plain vitamin D (cholecalciferol).

Keywords: vitamin d, vitamin d supplement, vitamins


Torres-Gonzalez, M., Cifelli, C. J., Agarwal, S., & Fulgoni, V. L., 3rd (2020). Association of Milk Consumption and Vitamin D Status in the US Population by Ethnicity: NHANES 2001-2010 Analysis. Nutrients12(12), E3720. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123720

Heo, T. Y., Kim, Y. N., Park, I. B., & Lee, D. U. (2020). Amplification of Vitamin D2 in the White Button Mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) by UV-B Irradiation and Jet-Milling for Its Potential Use as a Functional Ingredient. Foods (Basel, Switzerland)9(11), 1713. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9111713

Kashefiolasl, S., Leisegang, M. S., Helfinger, V., Schürmann, C., Pflüger-Müller, B., Randriamboavonjy, V., Vasconez, A. E., Carmeliet, G., Badenhoop, K., Hintereder, G., Seifert, V., Schröder, K., Konczalla, J., & Brandes, R. P. (2020). Vitamin D-A New Perspective in Treatment of Cerebral Vasospasm. Neurosurgery, nyaa484. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa484

Vladimirov, S., Zeljković, A., Gojković, T., Miljković, M., Stefanović, A., Zeljković, D., Trifunović, B., & Spasojević-Kalimanovska, V. (2020). Associations of cholesterol and vitamin D metabolites with the risk for development of high grade colorectal cancer. Journal of medical biochemistry39(3), 318–327. https://doi.org/10.2478/jomb-2019-0047

Santos, C. A., Nunes, G., Barata, A. T., & Fonseca, J. (2020). Vitamin D in dysphagic patients who have undergone endoscopic gastrostomy for long-term enteral feeding. Gastroenterologia y hepatologia, S0210-5705(20)30247-8. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gastrohep.2020.05.016

Cristelo, C., Machado, A., Sarmento, B., & Gama, F. M. (2020). The roles of vitamin D and cathelicidin on type 1 diabetes susceptibility. Endocrine connections, EC-20-0484.R1. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1530/EC-20-0484

Brenner, H., & Schöttker, B. (2020). Vitamin D Insufficiency May Account for Almost Nine of Ten COVID-19 Deaths: Time to Act. Comment on: “Vitamin D Deficiency and Outcome of COVID-19 Patients”. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2757. Nutrients12(12), E3642. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123642

Laird, E., Walsh, J. B., Lanham-New, S., O’Sullivan, M., Kenny, R. A., Scully, H., Crowley, V., & Healy, M. (2020). A High Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Observed in an Irish South East Asian Population: A Cross-Sectional Observation Study. Nutrients12(12), E3674. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12123674

Barreto, F. C., & Stinghen, A. (2020). Vitamin D and chronic kidney disease: an uneasy relationship. Jornal brasileiro de nefrologia : ‘orgao oficial de Sociedades Brasileira e Latino-Americana de Nefrologia, S0101-28002020005042202. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1590/2175-8239-JBN-2020-E002

Lee, P. C., Hsieh, Y. C., Huo, T. I., Yang, U. C., Lin, C. H., Li, C. P., Huang, Y. H., Hou, M. C., Lin, H. C., & Lee, K. C. (2020). Active Vitamin D3 Treatment Attenuated Bacterial Translocation Via Improving Intestinal Barriers in Cirrhotic Rats. Molecular nutrition & food research, e2000937. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.202000937

Hassanzadeh-Makoui, R., Jamei, M., Hassanzadeh-Makoui, M., & Khederlou, H. (2020). Effects of Vitamin D on Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction in Patients with Systolic Heart Failure: A Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism18(3), e103528. https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.103528

Wei, Y., Wang, S., Meng, Y., Yu, Q., Wang, Q., Xu, H., Yuan, H., Li, X., & Chen, L. (2020). Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation in Patients with Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of endocrinology and metabolism18(3), e97205. https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.97205

Szeto, B., Valentini, C., & Lalwani, A. K. (2020). Low vitamin D status is associated with hearing loss in the elderly: a cross-sectional study. The American journal of clinical nutrition, nqaa310. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa310

Thomas, R. L., Jiang, L., Adams, J. S., Xu, Z. Z., Shen, J., Janssen, S., Ackermann, G., Vanderschueren, D., Pauwels, S., Knight, R., Orwoll, E. S., & Kado, D. M. (2020). Vitamin D metabolites and the gut microbiome in older men. Nature communications11(1), 5997. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19793-8

Nema, J., Sundrani, D., & Joshi, S. (2020). Prenatal vitamin D supplementation reduces blood pressure and improves placental angiogenesis in an animal model of preeclampsia. Food & function, 10.1039/d0fo01782e. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1039/d0fo01782e

Cakal, S., Çakal, B., & Karaca, O. (2020). Association of vitamin D deficiency with arterial stiffness in newly diagnosed hypertension. Blood pressure monitoring, 10.1097/MBP.0000000000000497. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1097/MBP.0000000000000497

Wagner, C. L., & Hollis, B. W. (2020). Early-Life Effects of Vitamin D: A Focus on Pregnancy and Lactation. Annals of nutrition & metabolism76 Suppl 2, 16–28. https://doi.org/10.1159/000508422

Kohlmeier M. (2020). Avoidance of vitamin D deficiency to slow the COVID-19 pandemic. BMJ nutrition, prevention & health3(1), 67–73. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000096

Jukic, A., Zuchniak, A., Qamar, H., Ahmed, T., Mahmud, A. A., & Roth, D. E. (2020). Vitamin D Treatment during Pregnancy and Maternal and Neonatal Cord Blood Metal Concentrations at Delivery: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial in Bangladesh. Environmental health perspectives128(11), 117007. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP7265

Sun, K., Zuo, M., Zhang, Q., Wang, K., Huang, D., & Zhang, H. (2020). Anti-Tumor Effect of Vitamin D Combined with Calcium on Lung Cancer: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrition and cancer, 1–10. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/01635581.2020.1850812

Lokesh, K. S., Chaya, S. K., Jayaraj, B. S., Praveena, A. S., Krishna, M., Madhivanan, P., & Mahesh, P. A. (2020). Vitamin D deficiency is associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and exacerbation of COPD. The clinical respiratory journal, 10.1111/crj.13310. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/crj.13310

Songyang, Y., Song, T., Shi, Z., Li, W., Yang, S., & Li, D. (2020). Effect of vitamin D on malignant behavior of non-small cell lung cancer cells. Gene, 145309. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2020.145309

Ringe J. D. (2020). Plain vitamin D or active vitamin D in the treatment of osteoporosis: where do we stand today?. Archives of osteoporosis15(1), 182. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11657-020-00842-0

Saraff, V., & Shaw, N. (2016). Sunshine and vitamin D. Archives of disease in childhood101(2), 190–192. https://doi.org/10.1136/archdischild-2014-307214

Papadimitriou D. T. (2017). The Big Vitamin D Mistake. Journal of preventive medicine and public health = Yebang Uihakhoe chi50(4), 278–281. https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.16.111