Active Form of Vitamin D Can Regulate Immune Responses in Diseases, Including MS, Study Shows

Active Form of Vitamin D Can Regulate Immune Responses in Diseases, Including MS, Study Shows

An active form of vitamin D can modulate the activity of immune cells and prevent autoimmune reactions known to be involved in several human diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS).

A study with that finding, led by researchers from The University of Edinburgh in Scotland, reveals a new layer of knowledge that may help better understand the role of vitamin D in human health and disease.

The study “1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Restrains CD4+ T Cell Priming Ability of CD11c+ Dendritic Cells by Upregulating Expression of CD31,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Low vitamin D status has long being implicated as a significant risk factor for the development of several autoimmune diseases,” Richard Mellanby, PhD, said in a press release. Mellanby is principal investigator at the Centre for Inflammation Research from the University of Edinburgh, and senior author of the study, “Our study reveals one way in which vitamin D metabolites can dramatically influence the immune system,” Mellanby said.

The human immune system relies on complex interactions between several groups of cells, in order to achieve the best protective shield against threats, while preserving the body’s healthy cells and tissues.

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An important step of this process is the maturation of immune T-cells, which are the main active immune cells responsible for detecting and destroying whatever may put the body in danger.

T-cells need to learn what may represent a threat and what belongs to the body, and for this they rely on another group of “teaching” cells called dendritic cells. When this process is altered, T-cells may start to target their surroundings indiscriminately, promoting damage to the body’s own cells, and leading to the development of autoimmune diseases.

Researchers found that an active form of vitamin D, called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, also may contribute for this teaching process of T-cells. This vitamin D metabolite can reshape the genetic profile of dendritic cells, promoting the presence of the surface receptor CD31.

When the levels of CD31 were increased, dendritic cells were unable to support the activation of T-cells. In contrast, when researchers genetically manipulated dendritic cells to lack CD31, these cells had an increased potential to activate T-cells.

The team also found that CD31 had this inhibitory effect by preventing prolonged contact between dendritic cells and T-cells, in both human and mouse-derived cells.

“Exposure of bone marrow dendritic cells (BMDC) during development to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is critical in the upregulation of inhibitory pathways which further restrain the ability of BMDC to prime [activate] T-cells,” researchers wrote.

Overall, the findings suggest that in the presence of this active vitamin D metabolite, dendritic cells may retain a more tolerant status, and subsequently suppress T-cell mediated autoimmune reactions.

Additional studies are warranted to further explore ways to use CD31 in dendritic cells as a strategy to lessen the activation of T-cells.

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  1. Rob says:

    Finally an article that reiterates what Dr. Coimbra and Coimbra protocol has been saying for years. I was diagnosed in Aug of 2016, and after much research discovered the Coimbra protocol, which for simplification is essentially using high dose Vitamin D to regulate your autoimmune disease. For me it was a much better alternative than the pharmaceutical poisons that my initial Neurologist wanted to prescribe. After hearing the side effects of Tysabri (namely PML), I had to find another alternative. Long story short, the lesions on my spinal cord have started to disappear, and the ones on my brain have shrunk as well. I’m happy to say I’ve been symptom and relapse free for almost 3 years thanks to the Coimbra protocol.

    My current Neurologist just told me last month, keep doing what you’re doing. I also posed the question, is it normal for me to not have any relapses or disease progression in 3 years? Her response was: ‘it’s very rare, not to say it doesn’t happen, but it’s rare to be improving and relapse free for extended periods of time, especially without taking and DMT’s”.

    It’s a shame the FDA will not allow Neuro’s in the US to look for alternative forms of treatment, but then again we know why that it is, the MONEY that’s involved in both politics and pharmaceutical industry!

    Nonetheless, it has worked for me, and I will continue to take high dose vitamin D. There are 2 great books that helped me decide this was the path for me:
    “Multiple Sclerosis and (lots of) Vitamin D: My Eight-Year Treatment with The Coimbra Protocol for Autoimmune Diseases” by: Ana Claudia Domene

    Good luck with your journey, no matter the path you choose for treatment, I pray you’re surefooted upon it.

  2. Dan Madden says:

    Great article. Good info, Rob. And good question, Sam. For years I have been taking various vitamin D forms because of the vague rumor that Vitamin D may be important without knowing what form and what type of “D” I should be taking, and how much.
    Sam, please help by specifically answering Rob’s question.
    Thank you.


  3. B says:

    If anyone here starts on a high dose of Vitamin D due to this article, a comment in the comment section, or anything else you read on the internet, BE SURE your doctor MONITORS your vitamin D levels every 6 months, along with your routine bloodwork.

    Too much can kill you just the same as too little.

    • Imp says:

      This. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, so you don’t pee out the extra like you do vitamin C. Not saying don’t do it, with MS you gotta take what works, but treat it like a drug, and keep an eye on it.

    • Karen Compton says:

      My Vitamin D level is 14 and my oncologist said it should be 60. He told me to take 10,000 IU’s a day of D3. He said he will check my level on three months.

  4. If you have an autoimmune condition you are highly unlikely to metabolise D3 properly my lab tests at one time had me 1,000 times over the recommended limits but it wasn’t until I went up to 1,000 IU’s daily that I noticed any healing reaction. I have been up to 2,000 IU’s daily since then I’ve stuck to 60,000 daily its not the blood test that’s important its your parathyroid hormone level, that needs to be on the lower side of normal.

  5. Great to see a D3 article, depressed to see the comment “Additional studies are warranted” just look at pub med thousands not just hundreds of papers and research is already out there they never go any further as the medical community has no interest in promoting a treatment that can may them no money, you can’t licence sunshine….

  6. Leah M says:

    I take 5,000 IU daily. On Copaxone I went 5 yrs w/o a relapse. I’m on Tecfidera now because I was tired of the shots. 2 pseudo/relapses due to stress, but no new lesions. This is super interesting to me. I wonder what my Neuro would say!

  7. Cathy says:

    Very interesting article and comments. If you are taking straight but D, it will not properly metabolise this the above normal blood levels, it needs to be D3 /w k2 to get to therapeutic levels. I was dx 1/2017 with PPMS, I right away started D3 /k2 d/t my own research! I also did 3 rounds of RITUXIN because I was desperate and in crisis. I did 1 1/2 years of PT 2 x’s a week. My neuro PT’s found it hard to believe that I had PPMS d/t my improvement. As a nurse of nearly 40 years, I’m not a fan of pharmaceuticals or big Pharma. Anytime that you take pharmaceuticals you are trading one problem for another is my belief. I’m going to tackle this disease from a homeopathic holistic point of view. Good luck out there!

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