Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in the regulation of calcium-phosphorus metabolism, particularly during pediatric age when nutritional rickets and impaired bone mass acquisition may occur.
Besides its historical skeletal functions, in the last years it has been demonstrated that vitamin D directly or indirectly regulates up to 1250 genes, playing so-called extraskeletal actions. Indeed, recent data suggest a possible role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of several pathological conditions, including infectious, allergic and autoimmune diseases. Thus, vitamin D deficiency may affect not only musculoskeletal health but also a potentially wide range of acute and chronic conditions. At present, the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is high in Italian children and adolescents, and national recommendations on vitamin D supplementation during pediatric age are lacking. An expert panel of the Italian Society of Preventive and Social Pediatrics reviewed available literature focusing on randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation to provide a practical approach to vitamin D supplementation for infants, children and adolescents.