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Vitamin D Activates T Cells - New Research

Discussion in 'XMRV Testing, Treatment and Transmission' started by shannah, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    My understanding is that Dr. Mikovits says XMRV replicates through the T cells and we want to boost the NK cells but leave the T & B cells alone. If I have this wrong, please correct me. For the more scientific minded here that can interpret this new report, would supplementing with Vitamin D be benefical in fighting XMRV or would we be just activating the virus?



    http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2010/2010.3/d_vitamin/

    2010-03-07

    Vitamin D crucial to activating immune defensesScientists from the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system - T cells - will not be able to react to and fight off serious, life-threatening infections in the body.

    For T cells to detect and kill foreign pathogens such as clumps of bacteria or deadly viruses, the cells must first be triggered' into action and transform' from inactive and harmless immune cells into killer cells that are primed to seek out and destroy all traces of a foreign pathogen

    The researchers found that the T cells rely on vitamin D in order to activate and they would remain dormant, nave' to the possibility of threat if vitamin D is lacking in the blood.

    - "We have discovered that the first stage in the activation of a T cell involves vitamin D, explains Professor Carsten Geisler from the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology. When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it has an immediate biochemical reaction and extends a signaling device or antenna' known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it search for vitamin D. This means that the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won't even begin to mobilise."

    T cells that are successfully activated transform into one of two types of immune cell. They either become killer cells that will attack and destroy all cells carrying traces of a foreign pathogen or they become helper cells that assist the immune system in acquiring "memory". The helper cells send messages to the immune system, passing on knowledge about the pathogen so that the immune system can recognize and remember it at their next encounter and launch a more efficient and enhanced immune response. T cells form part of the adaptive immune system, which means that they function by teaching the immune system to recognize and adapt to constantly changing threats.

    Activating and Deactivating the Immune System
    For the research team, identifying the role of vitamin D in the activation of T cells has been a major breakthrough.

    - "Scientists have known for a long time that vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and the vitamin has also been implicated in diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, but what we didn't realize is how crucial vitamin D is for actually activating the immune system - which we know now."

    The discovery, the scientists believe, provides much needed information about the immune system and will help them regulate the immune response. This is important not only in fighting disease but also in dealing with anti-immune reactions of the body and the rejection of transplanted organs. Active T cells multiply at an explosive rate and can create an inflammatory environment with serious consequences for the body. After organ transplants, e.g. T cells can attack the donor organ as a "foreign invader". In autoimmune disease, hypersensitive T cells mistake fragments of the body's own cells for foreign pathogens, leading to the body launching an attack upon itself.

    The research team were also able to track the biochemical sequence of the transformation of an inactive T cell to an active cell, and thus they could intervene at several points to modulate the immune response. Inactive or nave' T cells crucially contain neither the vitamin D receptor nor a specific molecule (PLCgamma1) that would enable the cell to deliver an antigen specific response.

    The findings continues Professor Geisler "could help us to combat infectious diseases and global epidemics. They will be of particular use when developing new vaccines, which work precisely on the basis of both training our immune systems to react and suppressing the body's natural defenses in situations where this is important - as is the case with organ transplants and autoimmune disease."

    Most Vitamin D is produced as a natural byproduct of the skin's exposure to sunlight. It can also be found in fish liver oil, eggs and fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel or can be taken as a dietary supplement.

    Publication
    The findings will be published in the latest edition of Nature Immunology,
    (Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation
    of human T cells ) 10.1038/ni.1851, on 07 March 1800
    London Time/1300 Us Eastern Time.

    Contact Details
    Professor and Head of Department, Carsten Geisler
    Tel: (+45) 35 32 78 80
    Mobile: (+45) 28 75 7880
    Email: cge@sund.ku.dk


    Press Officer, Sandra Szivos
    Tel: (+45) 35 32 69 21
    Mobile: (+45) 28 75 69 21 Email:
    sasz@sund.ku.dk
  2. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    Vitamin D also boosts NK activity...

    Hi Shannah,

    Keep in mind that the XMRV-ME/CFS connection is still a hypothesis and yet to be proven conclusively. That will probably take another year, if not more...(just a guess of course!). I'm not sure even Dr. Mikovits and other experts studying XMRV would know the answer to your question, and I certainly don't, but here's a quote from wikipedia, with references:

    The hormonally active form of vitamin D mediates immunological effects by binding to nuclear vitamin D receptors (VDR) which are present in most immune cell types including both innate and adaptive immune cells. The VDR is expressed constitutively in monocytes and in activated macrophages, dendritic cells, NK cells, T and B cells. In line with this observation, activation of the VDR has potent anti-proliferative, pro-differentiative, and immunomodulatory functions including both immune-enhancing and immunosuppressive effects.[112]

    VDR ligands have been shown to increase the activity of natural killer cells, and enhance the phagocytic activity of macrophages.[17] Active vitamin D hormone also increases the production of cathelicidin, an antimicrobial peptide that is produced in macrophages triggered by bacteria, viruses, and fungi.[113]

    Vitamin D deficiency tends to increase the risk of infections, such as influenza[114] and tuberculosis[115][116][117]. In a 1997 study, Ethiopian children with rickets were 13 times more likely to get pneumonia than children without rickets.[118]

    Effects of VDR-ligands, such as vitamin D hormone, on T-cells include suppression of T cell activation and induction of regulatory T cells, as well as effects on cytokine secretion patterns.[119] VDR-ligands have also been shown to affect maturation, differentiation, and migration of dendritic cells, and inhibits DC-dependent T cell activation, resulting in an overall state of immunosuppression.[120]

    These immunoregulatory properties indicate that ligands with the potential to activate the VDR, including supplementation with calcitriol (as well as a number of synthetic modulators), may have therapeutic clinical applications in the treatment of inflammatory diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis), dermatological conditions (psoriasis, actinic keratosis), osteoporosis, cancers (prostate, colon, breast, myelodysplasia, leukemia, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma), and autoimmune diseases (systemic lupus erythematosus, type I diabetes); central nervous systems diseases (multiple sclerosis); and in preventing organ transplant rejection.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D

    Hope that is helpful...

    Dan
  3. Anika

    Anika Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting this - I hadn't seen this article before.

    Killer T cells - I think these are a small subset of T cells, that are often low or underactive in CFS, along with NK cells, even though total T cells may be relatively high in some CFS patients. I came across an old paper from Dr. Klimas's group last week while the forum was down that I think mentioned a finding about low killer T cells, which I hadn't noticed before. I can't locate the paper right now - her group has done a lot on CFS immunology over the years, and T cells and killer cells are mentioned in a lot of places. I wish I had seen this Vitamin D article before that.

    My general impression was that we can't look at all T cells the same, we have to look at the whole system and functions of the different cells. So it could well be that there is a concern about further stimulating T cells in general, but that we do have a subset, the killer T-cells, that need a boost.

    I hadn't seen this slant on Vitamin D before. It could help explain why most of us have low Vitamin D (though we have a lot of company in that parameter). But, do we just use up more Vitamin D, or are we unable to use it the same way even if we get all the Vitamin D we could use? dannybex, I couldn't follow the ramifications from what you cited - beyond my technical capacity!

    It seems that a difference in this type of response might be something genomics / proteomics could help identify, for us and other people with chronic illnesses with low Vitamin D.
  4. shannah

    shannah Senior Member

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    Well I can see my question wasn't as simple to answer as I originally thought. I pondered it a few days and thought I just wasn't 'getting it'. Fighting through this cognitive dysfunction/distortion/disorientation sure is challenging. Amazes me they call it 'brain fog' - seems closer to dementia. Analagous to calling this disease CFS I guess.

    Anyway, many thanks danny and Anika for your thoughts. I think it's an important finding relevant to the inner workings of immunity but just one more piece of the puzzle I guess. Not enough yet to complete a section of the picture.

    shannah
  5. oerganix

    oerganix Senior Member

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    I don't have the article anymore but I read an interesting study showing that rickets in children is not caused by a lack of vitamin D (obviously the children in Ethiopia have lots of sunshine and plenty of vitamin D) but rather it is caused by the lack of the proper combination of minerals in the diet, ie calcium, phosphorus, etc. (Which may be why children and pregnant women sometimes crave mud/clay, in poor countries, for the calcium and other minerals.) Having plenty of calcium, for instance, doesn't guarantee healthy bones if there isn't enough of the synergistic minerals required in bone health.

    Dr Marshall's research has shown that L-form bacteria need vitamin D to replicate, and some of us (including me) have found antibiotic therapy very helpful, so I would be very careful before deciding to supplement with vitamin D. It is currently being marketed as the new 'miracle' supplement by a lot of copy-cat stories that, upon investigation, come from the supplement sellers. I have also read a study on osteoporosis that showed over supplementation of vitamin D caused bone reabsorption, the opposite of the intended result.
  6. FernRhizome

    FernRhizome Senior Member

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    I, for one, have a problem taking vitamin D as it causes my OI to get very bad, even with a week of the lowest dose. I have severe osteoporosis, and my D level can be around 26 but adding D only makes me sicker and then I can't do my short walk. So I've given up on taking it. Oerganix I am glad you posted about the new study on D as my osteoporosis doctor is very involved nationally on what D levels are safe and he know longer recommends that anyone go over 30 as a safe level for vitamin D (blood test). I noticed in one of the articles above there was mention of the "hormonally active form." Which made me wonder if there is NON hormonally active form? ~Fern
  7. omerbasket

    omerbasket Senior Member

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    Do you have a link to the study you talked about in the last two lines? It's interesting for me.
  8. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    I wonder if this has something to do with vitamin K2 being off balance... I've heard of cases where vit K2 supplementation (in kids) caused teeth to go grey or even rot and this was corrected by adding vitD.
  9. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

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    You make a great point about minerals. It's never just one thing of course, or one cause. If one has rickets or osteoporosis or osteopenia and takes too much vitamin d, and at the same time isn't getting enough calcium and other minerals in the diet, then the calcium, etc., may be pulled from the bones, making the condition even worse. And vitamin K (many with gut problems are deficient) is essential to help direct calcium out of the arteries and into the bones.

    As mentioned elsewhere, there are hundreds of clinical studies backing up the safe use of vitamin D and or sunlight for many diseases...these aren't just a result of 'stories' from vitamin D supplement companies. The key in the study you mentioned is 'over supplementation of vitamin d', not sufficient or proper supplementation. Plus...were they getting sufficient minerals...?

    d.
  10. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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  11. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    This is interesting and puzzling. I think the hormonally active form of Vitamin D is D3. Someone please correct that if I'm wrong.

    When I take Vit D3, it makes me really depressed. Hmm. Like a lot of us, my blood tests low in Vit D.
    To me, calcium has been one of the most valuable supplements I have taken. It helps me sleep, makes me feel better in general, and keeps my teeth from getting cavities. But I suspect the need for various minerals might be an individual thing that is exacerbated by having CFS.

    Forebearance
  12. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Hi natasa,

    Thanks for posting this. The more books I read about minerals the more scared I am that people are taking lots of calcium without knowing what their true levels are. Excess calcium does really nasty things to your body. Although I don't have any way of testing it now, I suspect that the large gallstone that was removed along with my gallbladder several years ago was probably made of calcium. I don't know what test the person in this video was specifically referring to, but the EXAtest (tissue levels) is the one that I took. I was amazed to see the recent results that I am still slightly deficient in magnesium even tho I have been supplementing for 11 months, and that my calcium is within normal ranges even tho I don't supplement with calcium. As a result, my calcium/magnesium ratio is still too high. Your body doesn't seem to dump calcium as it does magnesium and many processed foods (along with dairy) have added calcium to make it appear "healthy". I am looking forward to trying to get the book that is mentioned from my library.

    Take care,

    HW
  13. Jimk

    Jimk

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    Some of the reactions to taking D3, especially when your level is low, may be from bacterial/viral die-off. D3 ramps up NK cells, T cells as this latest research has shown, pumps up levels of endogenous (made by the body) antibiotics, and induces apoptosis (normal cell death-- a number of intracellular bacteria and viruses escape the immune system by preventing apoptosis of the cells they've infected, and D seems to induce this thus exposing them to macrophages, etc. I've been working my D3 levels up very gradually, having to go in 400 unit increments for weeks to a month or more before being able to tolerate the next dosage level. I'm up to 2400 units a day now and hoping to work up to 5000 depending on blood levels I reach. I get die-off type of reactions (increased fatigue, aches, brain fog, etc.) each bump up. A treasure trove of D info at http://www.cpnhelp.org/vitamin_d3_table_contents
  14. Forebearance

    Forebearance Senior Member

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    Thanks, Jimk! I tried starting with a tiny amount of D3, but stopped it eventually because I was scared and didn't understand what was happening.
  15. Mij

    Mij Senior Member

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    What is the infection that you have that is dying off? I took vitamin D3 for 5 years and discontinued because I also experienced terrible aches, dizziness, more exhaustion and very sore ear and throat. I believe, for me anyways, that Vit D3 just activated my immune system and made my illness worse.

    Mij
  16. natasa778

    natasa778 Senior Member

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    this could be relevant for some:

  17. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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  18. Hysterical Woman

    Hysterical Woman Senior Member

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    Thanks Natasa, another interesting website.
  19. Jimk

    Jimk

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    MIJ- The particular organism is Chlamydiae pneumoniae, no not the venereal Chlamydia, it's in the same family but usually enters through respiratory infection. Since it's intracellular, apoptosis of infected cells (which Vitamin D can trigger) releases a lot of toxins that generate a powerful immune response, i.e. inflammation. It's not the D that's inflammatory, but the bacterial particals and chemicals.

    But many other infecting organisms, both viral and bacterial, can also cause various kinds of "die-off" reactions, i.e. inflammation, reactions to neurotoxins dumped en masse by dying organisms, or reactions from the organs that are particularly infected. If you are infected with something, you generally want your immune system boosted, but if your immune system has been underfunctioning for a long time then even a minor boost will gear up enough bacterial/viral kill to cause a reaction. And if you are infected with multiple organisms, not uncommon for us with CFS/ME, you can get hit from different directions.
    A better measure of what is actually happening is not how long you were taking it, but what your blood levels of D were. Taking it for 5 years doesn't necessarilly mean that your blood levels were adequate. Folks with chronic infections often have chronically low D levels even with supplementation, because D is being constantly used up to fight the ongoing infections (such as by the T cells mentioned in the initial thread post). See www.vitamindcouncil.org for recommended blood levels and access to inexpensive testing.

    I've known people who had to build up using quite small doses planfully over a long period of time, e.g. 400mg D3 very other day for a month, etc.
  20. xdopamine

    xdopamine

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    Hi! I am so happy that I found people who have similar problems with Vitamin D3 intake! For the last years I am struggling with fatigue and depression (hell I am just 19...) but I have to admit that over the last months my depression and fatigue improved. Recently I have been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D3: 6.23 ng/ml , 1,25-D 19 pg/ml) so I started taking 5000IU and hell I feel SO TERRIBLE (I tried smaller doses same result)! All my fatigue is virtually back. Even if i take a SINGLE DOSE of D3 the fatigue lasts several days. Well, I have researched and came up with two possible causes:

    - Magnesium deficiency

    - Chronic infection / autoimmune disease

    Taking mangesium doesn't seem to bring relief. I have been taking 200-600mg of elemental magnesium daily (from magnesium glycinate) without success.

    I am desperate. I know that vitamin D is very important for many things but I am also afraid of filling up my vitamin D storage and then ending up waiting months until my fatigue improves again. Some people suggest to ignore the fatigue and keep supplementing vitamin D3 and that the fatigue will disappear after 1-2 weeks.

    Can you share more of your experiences concerning vitamin D3 supplementation and adverse effects? (Did you continue? Did your fatigue diminish? ...)

    In case of the possible bacterial/viral die-off should the vitamin D3 intake be continued?

    If yes: Many people say that they start with a small doses and gradually increase the dose. Is it ok to start with 5000-10000IU? I think staying at a low dose will just lenghten the die-off process. Isn't it better to start with a high dose, have stronger die-off effects but getting relief earlier?
    Could LDN be helpful here?

    Thanks!

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