Immune cells require nutrients such as vitamin C and zinc to carry out their immediate duties. Yet chronic immune dysregulation can lead to autoimmune or inflammatory conditions. At a deeper level, the need to maintain balance among the immune system’s many, and sometimes conflicting, missions is crucial for long-term health—and this is where vitamins A and D are most valuable.
Through an intricate system of enzymes and nuclear receptors that are cell-specific, A and D are able to carry a variety of signals that answer tissue-specific needs. For example, different populations of immune cells activate A and D under different circumstances, and tissue-specific receptor arrangements translate the messages of A and D into a timely, customized response.
In this study, researchers at Harvard and in Japan characterized:
● How vitamins A and D are metabolized by different body tissues
● The effects of A and D in expanding or limiting innate and acquired immune responses
under different nutritional and immune circumstances
● Potential immunotherapies involving A and D
“Vitamins” A and D Are Immune-Customizing Hormones
This review demonstrates the remarkable versatility of vitamins A and D,
which regulate immune responses differentially in body tissues that may
simultaneously face divergent immune challenges.