Vitamin D could be a powerful “forgotten” antibiotic. Recent studies show that vitamin D stimulates the production of powerful antimicrobial peptides in numerous cells of the human body, where they directly and quickly destroy the cell walls of viruses and bacteria, including tuberculosis and chronic infections such as pneumonia and cystitis…
We have known for some time that vitamin D is important for our immune system, as it affects around 3000 of our 25000 genes and plays a critical role in immune response. But not so long ago scientists also discovered that vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic and is useful both for preventive action and the treatment of many types of infection.
Vitamin D as a natural vaccine
In one study, researchers had children consume 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 per day, less than a third of the recommended daily allowance for children. Even at such a low dosage, the results were staggering: their risk of contracting the flu was decreased by 58%. To put it into perspective, that’s an effect 8 times greater than that obtained with standard vaccines.
Vitamin D fights all types of infections
Vitamin D is involved in the production of defensins and catelicidine and 200 other antimicrobial peptides that provide a natural defense and indispensable help in the fight against a large number of infections. The integration of vitamin D increases catelicidin production, while low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increase in the incidence of all types of infections.
A recent discovery that vitamin D regulates the expression of the catelicidine gene (a powerful antimicrobial peptide), has generated renewed interest in the use of vitamin D to combat infectious diseases. Over the past 30 years, studies have identified numerous mechanisms behind the antibiotic effects of vitamin D in humans. Also, historically, vitamin D supplements have shown efficacy in the treatment of infectious diseases such as lupus vulgaris and pulmonary tuberculosis, with a powerful action on skin and lung infections in general.
The improvement of patients with lupus vulgaris who underwent a strong vitamin D therapy has had a rather surprising impact on the scientific community. More recent studies with pulmonary tuberculosis have used much lower doses of vitamin D in combination with current antibiotic therapies and the results have, obviously, been mixed.
Studies of other infections suggest that adequate levels of vitamin D or supplementation with vitamin D
may be very important in reducing respiratory tract infections and vaginal infections.
In addition, catelicidine is effective in fighting all infections in whatever stage they are, killing microbes and eliminating the biofilm used by pathogenic bacteria to proliferate and resist the action of antibiotics. Moreover, catelicidine promotes the recruitment of other immune cells and the migration of epithelial cells necessary for wound healing, thus significantly speeding up healing.
Here’s a list of pathologies that are related to the vitamin D deficiency and that improve with its integration:
Acute respiratory infections
Density of breast tissue
Reduced cognitive abilities
C-reactive protein levels
Dental caries and periodontal problems
HIV / AIDS
Immune system dysfunction
Back pain (low back pain)
Low birth weight
Low muscle strength
Non-specific muscle pain
Peripheral artery disease
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Seasonal affective disorders (SAD)
Sepsis and septicemia
Has your doctor never recommended it? A couple of reasons why:
1) Doctors are not always up to date with recent discoveries.
2) Pharmaceutical companies have no interest in promoting vitamin D supplements to doctors, as they are too cheap and convenient.
– Bartley J. Vitamin D, innate immunity and upper respiratory tract infection. J Laryngol Otol. 2010 May;124(5):465-9.
– Feindt E, Ströder J. Studies on the antimicrobial effect of vitamin D. Klin Wochenschr. 1977 May 15;55(10):507-8.
– Guo C, Gombart AF. The antibiotic effects of vitamin D. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2014;14(4):255-66.
– Liu PT, et al. Toll-like receptor triggering of a vitamin D-mediated human antimicrobial response. Science. 2006 Mar 24;311(5768):1770-3.
– Hayes CE et al. The immunological functions of the vitamin D endocrine system. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2003 Mar;49(2):277-300.
– Wang TT et al. Cutting edge: 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is a direct inducer of antimicrobial peptide gene expression. J Immunol. 2004 Sep 1;173(5):2909-12.
– Gombart AF et al. Human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) gene is a direct target of the vitamin D receptor and is strongly up-regulated in myeloid cells by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. FASEB J. 2005 Jul;19(9):1067-77.