“Vitamins” A and D Are Immune-Customizing Hormones

“Vitamins” A and D Are Immune-Customizing Hormones

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.

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