The Case for High Dose Vitamin D as Alternative or Adjunct Therapy
Recent studies suggest the importance of Vitamin D3 in immunity, and indeed, Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart disease, depression, diabetes, chronic pain, osteoporosis and many other illnesses. Since these diseases have also been linked via studies with Chlamydia pneumoniae (and other pathogen) infection(s), the associated link with Vitamin D3 deficiency might be considered telling.
Vitamin D3 has also been shown via studies to play an important role in host defense against pathogens by promoting the production of the human antimicrobial peptides, cathelicidins (LL-37). These cathelicidins have been found to have broad spectrum antimicrobial activity, showing activity via studies against a host of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Importantly, because the antibacterial activity of these antimicrobial peptides involves binding to components of the bacterial cell walls which then allows for a disruption of the bacterial membranes, it is assumed that it would be very unusual for bacterial resistance to occur against these antimicrobial peptides. Also, and very importantly for C. pneumoniae infections, in addition to their antimicrobial effects, these antimicrobial peptides have been shown via studies to have LPS binding activity and have been shown via studies to reduce the incidence of septic shock in animal models of endotoxemia. Vitamin D has also been shown via studies to have important immunomodulating activitity, which is important in treating the runaway inflammation that occurs in so many disease associated with C. pneumoniae and other infections.
While human cathelicidins have been shown to have little or no direct effect against C. pnuemoniae, Vitamin D3 has been shown to disrupt the mechanism that the intracellular forms of C. pneumoniae use to prevent normal celluar apoptosis (via its effects on NF-Kappa B and inhibitor of apoptosis proteins), and it is believed that Vitamin D3 is active against the intracellular forms of C. pneumoniae through this mechanism. That is, Vitamin D3 is believed to disrupt C. pneumoniae's ability to parasitize cells and replicate while inside them.
In other words, Vitamin D3 is likely active against both intracellular forms of C. pneumoniae. Combined with the LPS binding effect of the antimicrobial peptides that it has been shown to induce, this would make Vitamin D3 a logical candidate for use in C. pneumoniae treatment.
The addition of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) would theoretically then provide treatment against all three forms of C. pneumoniae as well as many other pathogens that may be involved in C. pneumoniae related diseases. Perhaps too, via its LPS binding and immunomodulating effects, Vitamin D3 + NAC therapy might provide treatment for C. pneumoniae with fewer negative side-effects than traditional CAP therapy.
More information on Vitamin D3, its antimicrobial effects and other mechanisms of action can be found in the following Handbook thread: