The D-Lightful Vitamin D for Health

Dr. Holick



PhD, MD – University of Wisconsin

Residency – Massachusetts General Hospital

General field of research:

Vitamin D; Bone Health; Cancer; Psoriasis

Affiliations other than medicine:

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research
Physiology and Biophysics

Contact information:

Office and Lab:
85 East Newton Street, Room 1013, Boston MA 02118

Other research websites:


Vitamin D; Cancer; Bone health; Psoriasis; Muscle strength; Alopecia

Summary of research interest:

Dr. Holick and his team continue to be leaders in the field of vitamin D as it relates to bone health, the use of vitamin D and vitamin D analogues for the prevention and treatment of colorectal and prostate cancer, osteoporosis, metabolic bone disease, psoriasis and hair research.

The recognition that vitamin D deficiency increases risk of many deadly cancers has prompted Dr. Holick’s Laboratory to investigate the role of vitamin D deficiency and calcium intake on prostate cancer and colorectal cancer tumor formation and progression in mouse models.  Studies are underway to understand the mechanism by which vitamin D is able to have such a profound effect on inhibiting tumor growth.

We are evaluating the effectiveness of a pharmacologic dose of vitamin D 4,000 IU/day on prostatic specific antigen (PSA) and quality of life in men with prostate cancer who after treatment have an increase in their PSA levels.  A group will be exposed to ultraviolet B radiation three times a week to maintain vitamin D status and to determine whether there is any additional benefit by being exposed to ultraviolet B radiation compared to taking a pharmacologic dose of vitamin D.

Recent publications:

Tangpricha, V., Flanagan, J.N., Whitlatch, L.W., Tseng, C.C., Chen, T.C., Holt, P.R., Lipkin, M.S., and Holick. 2001 May 26.    25-hydroxyvitamin D-α-hydroxylase in normal and malignant colon tissue.  Lancet 357:1673-1674.

Peters, Eva, M.J., Foitzik, K., Paus, R., Ray, S., and Holick, M.F. 2001.  A new strategy for modulating chemotherapy-induced alopecia, using PTH/PTHrP receptor agonist and antagonist.  J. Invest. Dermatol. 117:173-178.

Holick, M.F.  2007. Vitamin D Deficiency.  New Engl. J. Med. 357:266-81.

Holick, M.F., Biancuzzo, R.M., Chen, T.C.,  Klein, E.K., Young, A., Bibuld, D., Reitz, R., Salameh, W., Ameri, A., and Tannenbaum, A.D.  2008. Vitamin D2 Is as Effective as Vitamin D3 in Maintaining Circulating Concentrations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D.  J. Clin. Endo. Metab.  93:677 – 681.

Holick, M.F. 2008.  Vitamin D and Sunlight:  Strategies for Cancer Prevention and Other Health Benefits.  Clin J Am Soc Nephrol.  3:1548-1554.

Holick, MF.  2008. Vitamin D:  A D-Lightful Health Perspective.  Nutr Rev.  66(Suppl.2): S190-S202.

Lee, J.H., O’Keefe, J.H., Bell, D., Hensrud, D.D., and Holick, M.F. 2008.  Vitamin D Deficiency:  An important, common, and easily treatable cardiovascular risk factor.  J. Amer. Coll. Cardiol.  52:1949-1956.

Merewood, A., Mehta, S.D., Chen, T.C., Holick, M.F., Bauchner, H. 2009.  Association between severe vitamin D deficiency and primary caesarean section.  J Clin Endo Metab. 94(3): 940-5.

Technologies available for sharing upon request:

HPLC technology