Intestinal absorption of vitamin D: from the meal to the enterocyte
Vitamin D plays key roles in bone, infectious, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. As most people get inadequate sun exposure for sufficient vitamin D status, they need adequate intake of dietary vitamin D. Many studies see optimizing vitamin D status as a public health priority. It is thus vital to gain deeper insight into vitamin D intestinal absorption. It was long assumed that vitamin D intestinal absorption is a passive process, but new data from our laboratory showed that it is actually far more complex than previously thought. This review describes the fate of vitamin D in the human upper gastrointestinal lumen during digestion and focuses on the proteins involved in the intestinal membrane and cellular transport of vitamin D across the enterocyte. Although recent data significantly improve our understanding of vitamin D intestinal absorption, further studies are still needed to increase our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon.