Purpose:To identify evidenced-based data to support the hypothesis that vitamin D is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, and maintaining circulating serum blood levels within a “normal” reference range which may be one way advance practice nurses can prevent the onset of multisystem disease. To prepare a comprehensive review of the literature on the subject of vitamin D and the relationship to immunity. This state -of-the -art literature review would serve as a foundation upon which researchers could focus future research in order to establish practice guidelines on vitamin D supplementation in an effort to prevent disease.
Methods: Fifty-six articles were selected from a review of literature using key words (vitamin D, immunity, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer, allergies, bone disease and serum vitamin D levels in humans). CINAHL and PUBMED data bases were explored with a five year date restriction except when establishing significant historical scientific data to capture the range of disease that has been found to have associations with serum vitamin D levels. Articles were selected based on establishing the best-evidence based guidelines, standards of care, and relevance to advanced practice nursing in providing disease prevention.
Results: A review of the literature on vitamin D and immunity supplied evidence that a relationship exists between vitamin D and innate and adaptive immunity. The literature also supported the hypothesis that low serum vitamin D levels may be related to the existence of multiple disease states in human beings. Supplementation of vitamin D was shown to enhance immunity to bacteria such as mycobacteria in Tuberculosis and potentially inhibiting the reactivation of latent Tuberculosis in individuals.
Conclusions: Clinically efforts should be aimed to supplement vitamin D levels to boost both innate and adaptive immunity to prevent and alleviate diseases linked to low circulating vitamin D levels.
Implications: Further research needs to be done to specifically determine the link between the supplementation of vitamin D with the goal to keep serum vitamin D levels within a normal to high of the normal reference range likely augmenting innate and adaptive immune responses in humans to prevent or alleviate multiple disease states.