The in vivo synthesis of the major biologically active metabolites of vitamin D occurs in two steps. The first hydroxylation of ergocalciferol takes place in the liver (to 25-hydroxyvitamin D) and the second in the kidneys (to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). Vitamin D metabolites promote the active absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the small intestine, thus elevating serum calcium and phosphate levels sufficiently to permit bone mineralization. Vitamin D metabolites also mobilize calcium and phosphate from bone and probably increase the reabsorption of calcium and perhaps also of phosphate by the renal tubules.
There is a time lag of 10 to 24 hours between the administration of vitamin D and the initiation of its action in the body due to the necessity of synthesis of the active metabolites in the liver and kidneys. Parathyroid hormone is responsible for the regulation of this metabolism in the kidneys.
Last reviewed on RxList: 5/7/2009
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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