Low vitamin D levels may hinder the efficacy of HIV treatment in adults, researchers from the University of Georgia reported. Findings from the study are published in Clinical Nutrition

Amara Ezeamama, assistant professor and co-author of the study, and colleagues conducted an 18-month study to understand whether a deficiency in vitamin D limited immune recovery benefit for patients on HIV antiretroviral therapy. 

In the longitudinal study, the team assessed the immune status of 398 HIV-positive adults at Months 0, 3, 6, 12, and 18 who were taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). They analyzed the increase in immune function to whether the patients had adequate levels of vitamin D.

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Vitamin D was found to help patients’ CD4+ T cell recovery faster.  Patients with sufficient vitamin D levels recovered on average 65 more CD4+ T cells compared to those with vitamin D deficiency. A greater benefit was seen for HIV-positive patients who were ≤35 years of age and had a BMI of <25kg/m2.  

Dr Ezeamama concluded, “In addition to HAART, ensuring vitamin D sufficiency may also be helpful in restoring immune function. Future studies are warranted to evaluate the efficacy of vitamin D as adjunct therapy during HAART. 


1. Ezemama AE, Guwatudde D, Wang M, et al.  Vitamin-D deficiency impairs CD4+T-cell count recovery rate in HIV-positive adults on highly active antiretroviral therapy: A longitudinal study. Clin Nutr. 2015; doi. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2015.08.007

This article originally appeared on MPR