• Jasmine Blake Hollywood, MS, HHP

Can Vitamins A and D boost the Immune System? A Look into Autoimmunity

Can Vitamin D boost Immune System?

Vitamin D can boost the immune system. As a matter of fact, vitamin D deficits actually impair tissue-specific immune responses. [7]. Therefore, also can prevent or treat autoimmunity. [7]. According to researchers, vitamin D deficiency, in particular, interferes with Th1 and Th2 responses. [7]. Th1 and Th2 are what scientists refer to as T-helper cells. T-helper cells "help" control the immune system.


Th1 Cells and Th2 Cells and Autoimmune Diseases


Th1 cells control intracellular inflammation caused by bacterial, viral, or pathogenic infections. [10]. Also, Th1 autoimmune diseases are organ-specific (cell-mediated). [10].


Th1 autoimmune diseases that the D vitamin is said to help regulate are [10]:

  • Graves’s Disease

  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

  • Celiac Disease

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus


Th2 activates B cells to produce antibodies and Th2 autoimmune conditions are systematic (humoral or antibody-mediated). [10]. Vitamin D magnifies Th2 responses. This vitamin interferes with the reproduction of B cells and how they present themselves to antibodies in our system. [7].

Th2 conditions that vitamin D are said to help are [10]:

  • Systemic Lupus

  • Sjogren's Syndrome

  • extracellular parasites

  • asthma

  • allergy


Other ways Vitamin D helps Boost Immunity


Vitamin D also influences how dendritic cells present antigens. This vitamin also improves the capacity of macrophages this way these cells can dispose of bacteria, pathogens, and viruses much easier. [10].


Can Vitamin A boost Immune System?


Vitamin A can boost the immune system. Deficits in this vitamin also impair tissue-specific immune responses. [7]. Therefore prevent or treat autoimmunity. [7]. Vitamin A enhances Th2-cell responses. Vitamin A also increases the power of the development of regulatory T-cells. [7]. Regulatory T cells are cells that regulate and suppress other cells in the immune system.


Researchers say that when it is time to produce more or less of these cells, vitamin A plays a crucial role in how when they should be dispersed or disposed of. [7]. As well, vitamin A plays a significant role in the communication of receptors that are in the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract has the ability to contribute to the signaling of the return of specific immune cells. [7].


Additionally, this vitamin also can block the upregulation of receptors in accordance with wth skin. [7]. This is why many skin diseases occur with vitamin A deficiency. [7].


Autoimmune Disease-Specific Micronutrient Deficiency


Many researchers find that the micronutrient deficits of autoimmune diseases have a common denominator. Hassanalilou and colleagues found patients diagnosed with Lupus had a vitamin D deficiency. [6]. Other researchers found that patients diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome also had vitamin D deficiency. [3;4]. Interestingly, Graves' disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Celiacs, Multiple Sclerosis, and Diabetes type 1 all had vitamin D deficit in common. [1;2;5;8;9;11].

Vitamin D deficiency is common in Autoimmune diseases.

Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual Impact


The body must be able to have all the essential nutrients to regulate human life. The equilibrium between all the physical processes that go on inside the body to keep it alive, and working correctly and fluently is what keeps us alive and feeling well. Thus, all essential nutrients should be viewed from a physical, spiritual, and psychological position. This reason is that micronutrients not only can impair the immune system but can impair emotional and mental equilibrium.

In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health (Source NIH), most patients live with their illness and go through treatment for the rest of their lives. A deficit in vitamin D can cause physical distress in a person's mind, and this person can experience mood changes such as depression. Depression affects a person's overall state of well being. In turn, this deficit can cause an unbalance with their spirituality.


It is not commonly unknown that people diagnosed with autoimmune diseases suffer from significant emotional impacts. Deficiencies in vitamins cause general feelings of exhaustion in addition to mood alterations is also emotionally draining. Besides, having a physical effect from the constant overload of immune attacks on the body and cells causes new psychological stress.


Impacts of Nutrient Deficiencies


In conclusion, the specific micronutrients needed to regulate autoimmune diseases are fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, and minerals. Vitamin A and vitamin D aid in cell activation, cell signaling, the return of cells, and cell distinction. Laboratory testing for nutrients deficiencies is imperative for the improvement, possible treatment, and long-term regulation of the immune system. Besides physiological impacts, psychological and emotional impacts are also affected by nutrient deprivation.

References:

  1. Alharbi, F. M. (2015). Update in vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Neurosciences, 20(4), 329–335. http://doi.org/10.17712/nsj.2015.4.20150357

  2. Alhuzaim, O. N., & Aljohani, N. (2014). Effect of Vitamin D3 on Untreated Graves’ Disease with Vitamin D Deficiency. Clinical Medicine Insights. Case Reports, 7, 83–85. http://doi.org/10.4137/CCRep.S13157

  3. Andrès, E., Blicklé, F., Sordet, C., Cohen-Solal, J., Sibilia, J. & Sapin, R. (2006). Primary sjögren’s syndrome and vitamin B12 deficiency: Preliminary results in 80 patients. American Journal of Medicine, 119(6) e9–e10 doin: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2005.09.015

  4. Baldini, C., Delle Sedie, A., Luciano, N., Pepe, P., Ferro, F., Talarico, R., Tani, C., & Mosca, M.(2014). Vitamin D in "early" primary sjögren's syndrome: Does it play a role in influencing disease phenotypes? Rheumatol International, 34(8):1159-64. doi: 10.1007/s00296-013-2872-3.

  5. Giri, D., Pintus, D., Burnside, G., Ghatak, A., Mehta, F., Paul, P., & Senniappan, S. (2017). Treating vitamin D deficiency in children with type I diabetes could improve their glycaemic control. BMC Research Notes, 10, 465. http://doi.org/10.1186/s13104-017-2794-3

  6. Hassanalilou, T., Khalili, L., Ghavamzadeh, S., Shokri, A., Payahoo, L., & Bishak, Y. K. (2018). Role of vitamin D deficiency in systemic lupus erythematosus incidence and aggravation. Auto-Immunity Highlights, 9(1), 1. http://doi.org/10.1007/s13317-017-0101-x

  7. Mora, J. R., Iwata, M. & von Adrian, U. H. (2008). Vitamin effects on the immune system: vitamins A and D take centre stage. Nature Reviews Immunology, 8: 685–698. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nri2378

  8. Moreira, T. S. & Hamadeh M. J. (2010). The role of vitamin D deficiency in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. European e-Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, 5(4): e155 - e165. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eclnm.2010.05.001

  9. Rotondi, M. & Chiovato, L. (2013). Vitamin D deficiency in patients with graves’ disease: Probably something more than a casual association. Endocrine, 43: 3. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12020-012-9776-y

  10. Stop Autoimmunity. (2017). TH1 and TH2 autoimmune diseases. Retrieved from http://stopautoimmunity.com/en/2017/01/08/th1-and-th2-autoimmune-diseases/

  11. Wierdsma, N. J., van Bokhorst - de van der Schueren, M. A. E., Berkenpas, M., Mulder, C. J. J., & van Bodegraven, A. A. (2013). Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are highly prevalent in newly diagnosed celiac disease patients. Nutrients, 5(10), 3975–3992. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu5103975

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