In the last 10 years it has become clear that vitamin D may have a wide range of physiological benefits beyond its well-recognised effects on calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism.
Vitamin D-deficiency is commonly linked to the bone disease rickets, but has recently been associated with other human health problems including common cancers, autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and adverse events in pregnancy.
These extra-skeletal effects of vitamin D are best illustrated by its interaction with the immune system, with vitamin D demonstrating both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory immune activity. As a consequence, vitamin D supplementation has been explored for diverse immune disorders such as tuberculosis and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
However, the immunomodulatory effects of vitamin D have been extended further to include acute respiratory infections such as common colds and influenza and, in the last year, effects on Covid-19 infection.
The NUGO webinar will outline the research that has led to this new perspective on vitamin D and the immune system, and will also explore potential future applications for vitamin D supplementation.
- Martin Hewison (University of Birmingham)