Vitamin D is a fat-soluble steroid hormone precursor that contributes to the maintenance of normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the bloodstream. Strictly speaking, it is not a vitamin since human skin can manufacture it, but it is referred to as one for historical reasons. It is often known as calciferol. The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phophorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones. It promotes bone mineralisation in concert with a number of other vitamins, minerals and hormones. Without vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, soft or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults -- skeletal diseases that result in defects that weaken bones. This book gathers international research on the leading-edge of the scientific front.