Vitamin D may help the Flu as well

Written by on June 28, 2010 in research with 2 Comments

Vitamin D continues to attract interest as does the list of ailments that are now associated with this nutrient. We know from previous studies that Vitamin D modulates the production of cytokines, thereby suppressing inflammation, but here we see that this has been linked not to rosacea, but viral infections such as the flu.

Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and the Incidence of Acute Viral Respiratory Tract Infections in Healthy Adults, PLoS One. 2010 Jun 14;5(6):e11088.

Background: Declining serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D seen in the fall and winter as distance increases from the equator may be a factor in the seasonal increased prevalence of influenza and other viral infections. This study was done to determine if serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations correlated with the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections.

Conclusions/Significance: Maintenance of a 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum concentration of 38 ng/ml or higher should significantly reduce the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections and the burden of illness caused thereby, at least during the fall and winter in temperate zones. The findings of the present study provide direction for and call for future interventional studies examining the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in reducing the incidence and severity of specific viral infections, including influenza, in the general population and in subpopulations with lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, such as pregnant women, dark skinned individuals, and the obese.

One additional paragraph was also interesting

Vitamin D has known effects on the immune system. The production of the antimicrobial peptides cathelicidin by macrophages and β-defensin by endothelial cells is upregulated by vitamin D. These peptides may be involved in the direct inactivation of viruses. Vitamin D may modulate the production of cytokines, suppressing inflammation, and, thereby, reduce the severity of viral pneumonia.

Whilst the conclusion may not look directly relevant to rosacea sufferers, the tie-in with Vitamin D, and the suggestion that cathelicidin is involved in the `inactivation’ of viruses is an interesting find.

Even for a well done study, the exact results and how they apply to large groups of the population are normally relatively small. Even so these results are interesting because further research might uncover how Vitamin D and Cathelicidin interact with with other important pathways in the body.

Read more about Vitamin D’s role in fighting colds and flu from Clinuvel Blog.

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About the Author

About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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2 Reader Comments

  1. Doug says:

    David… do you think higher Vit D levels would benefit rosacea sufferers?

  2. David Pascoe says:

    An excellent question Doug.

    I don’t believe that anyone can at this stage answer it.

    Certainly Vitamin D is attracting a lot of research and media attention. In amongst that attention we need to extract the real pearls of information to see what will benefit rosacea sufferers.

    If we keep an eye on the published research, then over time the answer should bubble to the top of the pile.

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