Hypovitaminosis D has become a pandemic, being observed in all ethnicities and age groups worldwide. Environmental factors, such as increased air pollution and reduced ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation, as well as lifestyle factors, i.e., decreased outdoor activities and/or poor intake of vitamin D-rich food, are likely involved in the etiology of a dramatic reduction of vitamin D circulating levels. The insufficiency/deficiency of vitamin D has long been known for its association with osteoporosis and rickets. However, in the last few decades it has become a serious public health concern since it has been shown to be independently associated with various chronic pathological conditions such as cancer, coronary heart disease, neurological diseases, type II diabetes, autoimmune diseases, depression, with various inflammatory disorders, and with increased risk for all-cause mortality in the general population. Prevention strategies for these disorders have recently involved supplementation with either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 or their analogs at required daily doses and tolerable upper-limit levels. This review will focus on the emerging evidence about non-classical biological functions of vitamin D in various disorders.
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