Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics; Emeritus Chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition; Director of the Bone Health Care Clinic and the Director of the Heliotherapy, Light, and Skin Research Center at the Boston University Medical Center.
Dr. Holick has made numerous contributions to the field of the biochemistry, physiology, metabolism, and photobiology of vitamin D for human nutrition. Dr. Holick has established global recommendations advising sunlight exposure as an integral source of vitamin D. He has helped increase awareness in the pediatric and medical communities regarding vitamin D deficiency pandemic, and its role in causing not only metabolic bone disease, and osteoporosis in adults, but increasing risk of children and adults developing common deadly cancers, schizophrenia, infectious diseases including TB and influenza, autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. He published over 550 manuscripts in well-respected peer-reviewed journals and more than 200 reviews and book chapters. He has acted as editor and/or co-editor on 13 books, and has written The UV Advantage in 2004 and The Vitamin D Solution in 2010. There have been more than 100,000 citations for his work in the field of calcium, vitamin D and bone metabolism. He served as the Chair for the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee for Vitamin D.
Dr. Holick has received numerous awards for my research activities including: The Linus Pauling Prize in Human Nutrition, The Linus Pauling Functional Medicine Award, The General Clinical Research Center’s Program Award for Excellence in Clinical Research from the National Institutes of Health, and the Louis Avioli Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, just to name a few. He was recognized by Thompson Reuters as one of the most influential scientific minds for 2014.
Evan Shute Memorial Lecture – Vitamin D: Evidence and Controversies
The sunshine vitamin D has been produced in life forms for more than 500 million years. Vitamin D is metabolized in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D and then is converted in the kidneys to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D for regulating calcium and phosphate metabolism and the maintenance of bone health. A multitude of organs including macrophages, brain, heart, breast, colon, skin etc. not only have a vitamin D receptor but also have the capacity to produce 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. This helps explain the diverse biologic activities of vitamin D in regulating more than 2000 genes and vitamin D’s ability to modulate the immune system, cellular proliferation and differentiation thereby helping to reduce risk for autoimmune disorders and deadly cancers respectively. There continues to be controversy about the noncalcemic health benefits of vitamin D and how much vitamin D is required for maximum health. Improvement in everyone’s vitamin D status can have significant health benefits including reducing risk for type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, deadly cancers, neurocognitive dysfunction, cardiovascular disease and infectious diseases. Vitamin D and genetics plays a critical role in bone development and bone strength. Vitamin D deficiency and Ehlers Danlos syndrome are associated with fragility fractures in infants that can be misdiagnosed as caused by nonaccidental trauma (NAT). A better understanding of metabolic bone disease is needed by those who make the life-altering diagnosis of NAT in an infant.