A role for vitamin D in the regulation of immune function was first proposed after the identification of Vitamin D receptors in lymphocytes. It has since been recognized that the active form of vitamin D, 1α,25(OH)₂D₃, has direct affects on naïve and activated helper T cells, regulatory T cells, activated B cells and dendritic cells. There is a growing body of literature linking vitamin D (serum 25(OH)D, oral intake and surrogate indicators such as latitude) to various immune-related conditions, including allergy, although the nature of this relationship is still unclear. This review explores the findings of epidemiological, clinical and laboratory research, and the potential role of vitamin D in promoting the inappropriate immune responses which underpin the rise in a broad range of immune diseases.
Keywords: 25(OH)D; allergy; helper T cells; immune system; vitamin D; vitamin D receptor.