Vitamin D and allergic disease: sunlight at the end of the tunnel?

Nutrients. 2012 Jan;4(1):13-28. doi: 10.3390/nu4010013. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eczema / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Lung / physiology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / physiology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Pregnancy
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Respiratory Sounds / immunology
  • Vitamin D / immunology*


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Vitamin D