Medical Journal of Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth (Jan 2021)

Potential role of Vitamin D as an antiviral agent

  • Joyeta Ghosh

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 1
pp. 3 – 12


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Vitamin D has potential antimicrobial activity, the deficiency of which has deleterious effects on the general well-being and longevity, predisposing major public health problem worldwide. About 1 billion people have Vitamin D deficiency, which is prevalent among all ethnicities and age groups throughout the world. In addition, the incidence of antimicrobial resistance has emerged as a major threat to public health, and it is estimated to cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050 throughout the world. Vitamin D, as a mighty antimicrobial agent, may decrease the occurrence of infection through numerous pathways. Vitamin D strengthens innate immunity by modulating the production of various anti-microbial peptide (AMPs), cytokine, chemokines and interleukin responses. Vitamin D is responsible for the regulation of >200 genes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptotic genes. It acts as the key holder for modulating systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial respiratory functions. Thus, a Vitamin D replete state appears to benefit most infections. As an antiviral agent, Vitamin D may constitute an inexpensive prophylactic option either by itself or as a synergistic agent during the treatment of different viral infections. The present review stipulates the importance of Vitamin D and its possible mechanisms against treating any kind of viruses. Relevant published articles were summarized by performing computerized literature searches (searches were made in PubMed/Medline, EMBASE, ScienceDirect, and Scirus) of different authentic databases using the following keywords: Vitamin D, VDR, infections, antimicrobial peptides, viruses, and COVID-19. The future for the sunshine vitamin as an antiviral agent looks brighter. More scientific proposition entailing in vitro, in vivo, or genomic studies are required to understand how important Vitamin D is against viral infections.