The question in our title stems from this 2006 article by E. Villamor, a researcher in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health. (Our highlighting in the abstract.)
This preliminary review suggests that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with increased mortality in people with HIV, while higher levels of Vitamin D are associated with higher CD4 counts.
Needless to say, we agree with the highlighted calls for further research on this topic.
A potential role for vitamin D on HIV infection?
E. Villamor, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
Despite advances in the knowledge of vitamin D’s potent immunomodulatory activity, its role on HIV disease progression is unknown. Decreased concentrations of 1alpha,25-hydroxyvitamin D3, or 1,25(OH)2D, the active form of vitamin D, have been reported among HIV-infected people and attributed to defects in renal hydroxylation and increased utilization. A few studies also described low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, 25(OH)D, the vitamin obtained from solar synthesis and diet. An inverse association between 1,25(OH)2D concentrations and mortality has been reported from a small cohort of HIV-infected adults, and some cross-sectional studies have indicated positive correlations between 1,25(OH)2D and CD4+ cell counts.
Additional observational studies are needed to confirm the associations between vitamin D status and HIV disease progression. These investigations would provide useful insights on the potential role of vitamin D supplementation to HIV-infected persons and the planning of intervention trials.
Citation: Villamor E. A potential role for vitamin D on HIV infection? Nutr Rev. 2006 May;64(5 Pt 1):226-33