Update on Vitamin D in Human Health

Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Dorsett Grand Subang Hotel

Vitamin D (calciferol) comprises a group of fat soluble seco-sterols. Two forms are important in humans: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants. Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet B rays from sunlight. Vitamin D is found in a few foods naturally (e.g. fish, eggs, fortified milk, cod liver oil and fortified foods).

The major biologic function of vitamin D in humans is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. Hence, the classic deficiency of the vitamin is related to bone formation, namely rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Recent research suggests that vitamin D plays a much broader disease-fighting role than this classic role. Several studies have investigated the potential role of vitamin D in muscular health; in diet-related chronic diseases, especially health disease and cancers; in promoting immune health.

Currently, there is scientific debate about the daily requirements for vitamin D, with some organisations increasing the recommended intake. There are also discussions on the appropriate cut-off for assessment of vitamin D status. Some reports of vitamin D insufficiency amongst various population groups have emerged, possibly resulting from reduced exposure to sunlight, while the status amongs Malaysians is unclear.

This seminar therefore aims to provide an update on the scientific understanding of vitamin D in human nutrition, including the various aspects mentioned above. It will provide a forum to discuss gaps in knowledge especially in relation to the needs of the population of this country. It is essential to have a clear assessment of the situation among Malaysians before considering interventions measures.


The Seminar aims to:

  1. Provide an overview of current understanding of the physiological role of vitamin D in human nutrition
  2. Update on issues related to assessment of vitamin D status
  3. Provide an update on the multiple potential health benefits of vitamin D beyond classical bone metabolism
  4. Update on status of vitamin D among Malaysians
  5. Identify research gaps in vitamin D
  6. Provide a platform for networking for future work on vitamin D


Health Benefits (and Risks) Associated with Vitamin D - An Update
Prof Rob Daly, Deakin University, Australia

The Re-emergence of Vitamin D as a Public Health Concern
Mr Geoff Smith, Essential Micronutrients Foundation, Singapore

Regulatory Aspects of Vitamin D, with Particular Respect to Malaysia
Ms Fatimah Sulong, Food Safety and Quality Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia

Assessing Muscoskeletal Health in Malaysian School Children
Assoc Prof Soma Mitra, University of Nottingham, Malaysia Campus

Maternal Plasma and Breast Milk Vitamin D Level from the USM Birth Cohort Study
Dr Hamid Jan, Universiti Sains Malaysia

A Randomized Controlled Trial of Vitamin D Supplement Effects on Cardiometabolic Risks Among Pre-menopausal Women: An Interim Analysis
Dr Mazliza Ramly, University of Malaya

Vitamin D Studies in Malaysia: Issues and Gaps
Prof Dr Khor Geok Lin, International Medical University Malaysia


To download the summary report, click here.