Does vitamin D protect against respiratory viral infections?

K. J. Bryson*, A. A. Nash, M. Norval

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The active form of vitamin D has effects on both innate and adaptive immune responses that may influence the outcome in many infectious diseases. Observational studies conclusively show that a low vitamin D status is associated with an increased occurrence of respiratory viral infections, which globally represent significant health and financial burdens. However, no consistent protective effects are evident in prospective clinical trials carried out to date where vitamin D was provided as a dietary supplement, except possibly in cases where the starting vitamin D status of the individual was considered deficient. Thus far, vitamin D has not been found to enhance the immune response to vaccines. The design of future prospective clinical trials assessing a role for vitamin D in respiratory viral infections requires very careful planning to avoid the uncertainties associated with the data available currently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1789-1801
Number of pages13
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Influenza (seasonal)
  • respiratory syncytial virus
  • respiratory viral infections
  • vitamin D


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