Epidemiology and Infection / Volume 142 / Issue 09 / September 2014, pp 1789-DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0950268814000193 Influenza/Respiratory viruses
K. J. BRYSONa1 c1, A. A. NASHa1 and M. NORVALa2
a1 The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK
a2 Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh Medical School, UK
c1 Author for correspondence: Dr K. J. Bryson, The Roslin Institute and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK (Email: karen.bryson at roslin.ed.ac.uk)
The active form of vitamin D has effects on both innate and adaptive immune responses that may influence the outcome in many infectious diseases. Observational studies conclusively show that a low vitamin D status is associated with an increased occurrence of respiratory viral infections, which globally represent significant health and financial burdens. However, no consistent protective effects are evident in prospective clinical trials carried out to date where vitamin D was provided as a dietary supplement, except possibly in cases where the starting vitamin D status of the individual was considered deficient. Thus far, vitamin D has not been found to enhance the immune response to vaccines. The design of future prospective clinical trials assessing a role for vitamin D in respiratory viral infections requires very careful planning to avoid the uncertainties associated with the data available currently.
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