Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism, with the capacity to modulate innate and adaptive immune function, cardiovascular function, and proliferation and differentiation of both normal and malignant keratinocytes. 1,25(OH)2D, the biologically active form of vitamin D, exerts most of its functions through the almost universally distributed nuclear vitamin D receptor (VDR). Upon stimulation by 1,25(OH)2D, VDR forms a heterodimer with the retinoid X receptor (RXR). In turn, VDR/RXR binds to DNA sequences termed vitamin D response elements in target genes, regulating gene transcription. In order to exert its biological effects, VDR signalling interacts with other intracellular signalling pathways. In some cases 1,25(OH)2D exerts its biological effects without regulating either gene expression or protein synthesis. Although the regulatory role of vitamin D in many biological processes is well documented, there is not enough evidence to support the therapeutic use of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention or treatment of infectious, immunoinflammatory, or hyperproliferative disorders. In this review we highlight the effects of 1,25(OH)2D on bone and calcium homeostasis, on cancer, and refer to its effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems.