Immune Modulatory Effects of Vitamin D on Viral Infections

Nutrients. 2020 Sep 21;12(9):2879. doi: 10.3390/nu12092879.

Abstract

Viral infections have been a cause of mortality for several centuries and continue to endanger the lives of many, specifically of the younger population. Vitamin D has long been recognized as a crucial element to the skeletal system in the human body. Recent evidence has indicated that vitamin D also plays an essential role in the immune response against viral infections and suggested that vitamin D deficiency increases susceptibility to viral infections as well as the risk of recurrent infections. For instance, low serum vitamin D levels were linked to increased occurrence of high burdens viral diseases such as hepatitis, influenza, Covid-19, and AIDS. As immune cells in infected patients are responsive to the ameliorative effects of vitamin D, the beneficial effects of supplementing vitamin D-deficient individuals with an infectious disease may extend beyond the impact on bone and calcium homeostasis. Even though numerous studies have highlighted the effect of vitamin D on the immune cells, vitamin D's antiviral mechanism has not been fully established. This paper reviews the recent mechanisms by which vitamin D regulates the immune system, both innate and adaptive systems, and reflects on the link between serum vitamin D levels and viral infections.

Keywords: AIDS; Covid-19; Influenza; deficiency; hepatitis; vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / blood
  • Coronavirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / blood
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / therapy
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Virus Diseases / immunology
  • Virus Diseases / therapy*
  • Virus Diseases / virology
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / immunology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / therapy*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / virology
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*

Substances

  • Immunologic Factors
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19 drug treatment