Vitamin D has been found to play a significant role in the function of the immune system, in both innate and adaptive immunity. Many immune cells express vitamin D receptors and vitamin D also enhances the antimicrobial properties of immune cells. This has put it under the spotlight recently with much focus on respiratory viral infections and this study below shows yet again that healthy vitamin D levels are crucial in supporting the body’s ability to fight infection.
In a study from 2017, researchers examined the data from 568 children with severe pneumonia and looked at their vitamin D status. The objective of this study was to estimate the extent to which vitamin D status can predict illness duration and treatment failure in children with severe pneumonia. They used several different cut offs for vitamin D concentration. Researchers found that children with viral pneumonia and vitamin D levels < 50 nmol/l were more likely to suffer from treatment failure and prolonged illness duration for each unit decrease in vitamin D levels. The researchers concluded, “our findings indicate that low vitamin D status is an independent risk factor for treatment failure and delayed recovery of severe respiratory infections in children.”
When we consider the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency it certainly does put vitamin D into the spotlight as a modifiable risk factor to consider when assessing our ability to fight infections.
Health Professional Resources
To find out more about the impact of vitamin D status on all aspects of health you can view our Nutri Advanced Research Summary.
Haugen, J, Basnet S, Hardang I et al. Vitamin D status is associated with treatment failure and duration of illness in Nepalese children with severe pneumonia. Pediatric Research 2017