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Vitamin D and yeast infections: Is there a relationship?

Posted on: January 26, 2015   by  Vitamin D Council


A new study published in the Journal of infectious diseases has found a positive and negative relationship between different doses of vitamin D and Candida infection.

Candida infection, or candidiasis, is a fungal infection that can be caused by an overgrowth of one of 20 naturally occurring species of yeast. Candidiasis commonly occurs in the mouth, known as thrush, or it can affect the vagina, known as a yeast infection.

Symptoms of thrush involve the presence of white patches on the mouth and throat, difficulty swallowing, or soreness. Symptoms of a yeast infection include itching, burning and general discomfort.

Thrush occurs most commonly among infants, the elderly and those with weak immune systems, while yeast infections occurs most commonly during pregnancy.

One of vitamin D’s role in the body is to produce an anti-microbial peptide called cathelicidin. Cathelicidin is a critical component to the body’s ability to fight off infections, such as Candida.

In the present study, researchers measured vitamin D levels among patients with candidiasis and found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in this patient population.

In addition, they administered activated vitamin D in varying doses to mice infected with Candida.

They found that low doses of activated vitamin D reduced the fungal burden and led to better survival compared to mice not given activated vitamin D. On the other hand, they found that high doses of activated vitamin D led to poor outcomes in these mice.

“Mechanistically, low dose [activated vitamin D] induced proinflammatory immune responses,” the researchers stated. “These beneficial effects were negated with higher vitamin D3 doses.”

Trials giving vitamin D supplements to human populations will help expand on the results seen among mice.


Lim, J. et al. Bimodal Influence of Vitamin D in Host Response to Systemic Candida Infection – Vitamin D Dose Matters. The journal of infectious diseases, 2015.

4 Responses to Vitamin D and yeast infections: Is there a relationship?

  1. Rita Celone Umile

    What were the doses used? What was considered low dose? What was considered high dose? What was the effective 25(OH) level for treatment of Candida? Perhaps I missed something.

  2. IAW

    Rita I had to read it several times before I realized that in one spot they said they used “activated” vitamin d meaning 1,25(OH) not 25OHD. Paragraph 8 should read “activated” vitamin d in two places. Wonder what would have happened if they had just used Vitamin D?

  3. Rita Celone Umile

    Great point, IAW. I am assuming that activated vitamin D is Calcitriol, which is a synthetic vitamin D analog. I think that there are already studies indicating that this analog does not work as well as D3–natural D.

    Perhaps VDC can speak to this point?

    Unfortunately synthetic analog=money. And money funds studies.

    But, we are missing the point here.

    If research has already proven that analog is not as effective as D3, why waste money proving this again and again?

    I’m flabbergasted.


  4. PeterVermont

    They used Calcijex: “One hundred microliters of vitamin D3 (Calcijex) was administered intra-peritoneally from day 2 post-infection at the doses as stipulated (0.001 μg/ml, 0.01 μg/ml, 0.1 μg/ml and 1 μg/ml or PBS as control) for 3 days. ”

    The maximum dosage also appears very high. The maximum used in humans is 2 mcg/day and they used up to 1 mcg/day on mice (which tend to be smaller than humans 😉

    Given the synthetic and the dosing I am not overlay alarmed at the negative results at the higher levels.

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