In addition to the traditional role of calcium homeostasis and bone mineralization, calcitriol, the active metabolite of vitamin D, also displays other metabolic activities as antiproliferative, pro-differentiating, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and antineoplastic effects. Thus, the awareness that vitamin D insufficiency/deficiency may be associated with various diseases has grown. Also nowadays, vitamin D is recognized as a potential therapeutic agent in anticancer therapy. However, its administration presents some drawbacks such as high toxicity and low bioavailability. Thus, the use of nanotechnology may overcome these problems associated with vitamin D administration, allowing to decrease its toxicity in healthy tissues and increasing its bioavailability. In this chapter, an overview on vitamin D and its metabolic activity is presented, as well as a review of nanosystems for the encapsulation of vitamin D for different applications, such as food and pharmaceutical industries.
Part of the book: A Critical Evaluation of Vitamin D