Vitamin D and the Immune System

“Vitamin D plays a major role in the regulation of the immune function by turning on or off genes and processes necessary for optimum health. In fact, vitamin D is touted as a “miracle nutrient” for the immune system as it enables the body to produce hundreds of antimicrobial peptides, which helps ward off various infections and diseases. An overwhelming body of clinical evidence supports the immune-modulating properties of vitamin D:
1. In patients with asthma, daily vitamin D doses of 7.5–30 mcg (300–1,200 IU) decreases asthma attacks. [343-344]
2. Lower levels of vitamin D are strongly linked with increased risk of respiratory tract infections. [345-347]
3. Vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces the risk of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI). [348-350]
4. Vitamin D strengthens the immune system by boosting mucosal defenses and preventing excessive inflammation. [351]
5. Vitamin D has strong antimicrobial activity that is effective against a broad range of bacteria and viruses, including M. tuberculosis and influenza-virus. [352-356]
6. In older adults with infections, high-dose vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces antibiotic use by as much as 50%. [357-358]
7. In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high doses of vitamin D improve lung function, rates of exacerbation, morbidity and mortality. [359]
8. In adults with cystic fibrosis and worsening of pulmonary symptoms, a single 250,000 IU dose of vitamin D significantly increases hospital-free days. [360-361]
9. Vitamin D supplementation is associated with a 13% decreased risk of repeat pneumonia. [362]
10. In patients with tuberculosis, vitamin D supplementation decreases markers of the disease and improves clinical outcome. [363-375]
11. In patients with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, higher vitamin D levels appear to slow disease activity. [376-379]
12. Vitamin D affects T cell maturation and facilitates the induction of T regulatory cells. [380-384]
13. Vitamin D also has effects on monocytes and dendritic cells (DCs) of the immune system. [385-388]
14. In patients with active lupus, vitamin D significantly decreases both spontaneous and stimulated immunoglobulin production from B cells, interferon (IFN), and other immune cells, thus preventing excessive immune response. [389-394]
15. In patients with multiple sclerosis, vitamin D inhibits excessive production of CD4 cells. [395]
16. Vitamin D can also prevent food allergy by suppressing excessive immune response. [396-398]

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