Vol 4 No 2 (2018): Current Issue
Review Article

Vitamin D: Controversy Cancer and Beyond

Rosales CJ
Department of Chemistry, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, USA
Bandyopadhyay D
Department of Chemistry, University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, USA
Published October 17, 2018
  • Vitamin D,
  • Calcitriol,
  • Disease,
  • Cancer,
  • Nutrient,
  • Human health
  • ...More


Vitamins are an essential part to wellbeing. This was not something always known however, as the Germ theory was the accepted thesis of the 18th century. It was found that certain accessory factors helped mitigate and even cure these diseases such as beriberi, scurvy, and rickets. Accessory factors, later coined vitamins by Casimir Funk, are an essential constituent of the human diet. Vitamin D is technically not a vitamin but functions as a steroid hormone whose most well-known purpose is calcification of the human skeleton. This helps prevent osteomalacia in adults and rickets, a serious problem in children due to their developmental stages. But besides its well-known role, vitamin D also has other important non-calcification purposes, including being a possible anticancer agent. Calcitriol (1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol, vitamin D3) has found to treat certain cancers in various ways: from the VDR-RXR complex to analogs being able to decrease tumor growth, lowering expression of stem cell marker genes, and inhibition of the Wnt pathway. Although there is promise in its effectiveness based on studies of squamous cell carcinoma, prostate, breast, colon, and ovarian cancer; hypercalcemia, lack of consistent data, and insufficient clinical trials are serious issues that constantly get in the way of progression of vitamin D’s legitimacy as a solution.