Seasonal vitamin D deficiency and HIV progression
16-Jun-2015 - Vitamin D supplementation may help reverse seasonal nutritional deficiency and slow HIV progression in Cape Town, South Africa, according to a study. Because vitamin D is associated with immune system function, deficiencies can affect the outcome of diseases, including infection with HIV. To assess the rate of vitamin D deficiency in Cape Town, which exhibits a high rate of HIV infection, Nina G. Jablonski and colleagues examined various factors affecting vitamin D levels in 100 healthy adults between 18 and 24 years of age. The authors assessed the participants’ skin pigmentation, seasonal ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation exposure, dietary vitamin D intake, genetic variation, smoking status, and serum vitamin D binding protein. Although dietary vitamin D intake did not vary seasonally, the authors found that UVB exposure was low in winter, leading to seasonal vitamin D deficiency that could be reversed by vitamin D supplementation, and that UVB exposure was the major determinant of individual vitamin D status. Further, the authors found that when blood cells isolated from participants were experimentally infected with HIV, viral replication was relatively attenuated in blood from individuals who had received vitamin D supplementation. The results suggest that vitamin D supplementation may prevent winter anemia and boost white blood cell count, possibly serving as a cost-effective intervention to reduce risk of HIV infection and slow HIV progression, according to the authors.
Article #15-00909: “High-dose vitamin D3 reduces deficiency caused by low UVB exposure and limits HIV-1 replication in urban Southern Africans,” by Anna K. Coussens et al.
MEDIA CONTACT: Nina G. Jablonski, Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; tel: 814-865-2509; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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