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Keywords:

  • inflammation;
  • immune function;
  • lung;
  • vitamin D

Summary

Vitamin D is now known to be of physiological importance outside of bone health and calcium homeostasis, and there is mounting evidence that it plays a beneficial role in the prevention and/or treatment of a wide range of diseases. In this brief review the known effects of vitamin D on immune function are described in relation to respiratory health. Vitamin D appears capable of inhibiting pulmonary inflammatory responses while enhancing innate defence mechanisms against respiratory pathogens. Population-based studies showing an association between circulating vitamin D levels and lung function provide strong justification for randomized controlled clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation in patients with respiratory diseases to assess both efficacy and optimal dosage.