2020 Volume 53 Issue 3 Pages 33-42
There is a growing body of evidence for the effects of vitamin D on intestinal host-microbiome interactions related to gut dysbiosis and bowel inflammation. This brief review highlights the potential links between vitamin D and gut health, emphasizing the role of vitamin D in microbiological and immunological mechanisms of inflammatory bowel diseases. A comprehensive literature search was carried out in PubMed and Google Scholar using combinations of keywords “vitamin D,” “intestines,” “gut microflora,” “bowel inflammation”. Only articles published in English and related to the study topic are included in the review. We discuss how vitamin D (a) modulates intestinal microbiome function, (b) controls antimicrobial peptide expression, and (c) has a protective effect on epithelial barriers in the gut mucosa. Vitamin D and its nuclear receptor (VDR) regulate intestinal barrier integrity, and control innate and adaptive immunity in the gut. Metabolites from the gut microbiota may also regulate expression of VDR, while vitamin D may influence the gut microbiota and exert anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects. The underlying mechanism of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of bowel diseases is not fully understood, but maintaining an optimal vitamin D status appears to be beneficial for gut health. Future studies will shed light on the molecular mechanisms through which vitamin D and VDR interactions affect intestinal mucosal immunity, pathogen invasion, symbiont colonization, and antimicrobial peptide expression.