Emerging role of vitamin D in autoimmune diseases: An update on evidence and therapeutic implications

Autoimmun Rev. 2019 Sep;18(9):102350. doi: 10.1016/j.autrev.2019.102350. Epub 2019 Jul 16.


Vitamin D plays a key role in in calcium homeostasis and, thus, provides an important support in bone growth by aiding in the mineralization of the collagen matrix. However, vitamin D performs various immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-fibrotic actions. Autoimmune diseases result from an aberrant activation of the immune system, whereby the immune response is directed against harmless self-antigens. Does vitamin D play a role in the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases? And, if so, what is its role? In the last decade, researchers' interest in vitamin D and its correlations with autoimmune diseases has considerably increased. We conducted a literature review, covering the period January 1, 2009 through March 30, 2019, in PubMed. We analyzed more than 130 studies in order to find a correlation between vitamin D levels and its effect upon several autoimmune diseases. The analysis demonstrated an inverse association between vitamin D and the development of several autoimmune diseases, such as SLE, thyrotoxicosis, type 1 DM, MS, iridocyclitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis vulgaris, seropositive RA, polymyalgia rheumatica. International multicenter study could allow us to confirm the data already present in the literature in the single clinical studies and to evaluate when to effectively supplement vitamin D in patients who do not take corticosteroids.

Keywords: autoimmune disease; autoimmunity; immunomodulation; vitamin D; vitamin D deficiency; vitamin D receptor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / blood
  • Autoimmune Diseases / epidemiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Comorbidity
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Evidence-Based Practice / trends
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / immunology


  • Vitamin D