Vitamin D Every Day to Keep the Infection Away?

Nutrients. 2015 May 29;7(6):4170-88. doi: 10.3390/nu7064170.

Abstract

Within the last decade, vitamin D has emerged as a central regulator of host defense against infections. In this regard, vitamin D triggers effective antimicrobial pathways against bacterial, fungal and viral pathogens in cells of the human innate immune system. However, vitamin D also mediates potent tolerogenic effects: it is generally believed that vitamin D attenuates inflammation and acquired immunity, and thus potentially limits collateral tissue damage. Nevertheless, several studies indicate that vitamin D promotes aspects of acquired host defense. Clinically, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk for various infectious diseases in epidemiological studies; yet, robust data from controlled trials investigating the use of vitamin D as a preventive or therapeutic agent are missing. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge regarding the effect of vitamin D on innate and acquired host defense, and speculate on the difficulties to translate the available molecular medicine data into practical therapeutic or preventive recommendations.

Keywords: T cell; Vitamin D; dendritic cell; infection and immunity; macrophage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity*
  • Animals
  • Communicable Diseases / blood*
  • Communicable Diseases / complications
  • Communicable Diseases / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / immunology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications

Substances

  • Vitamin D