Vitamin D deficiency is common in tuberculosis (TB) and this may modulate immune responses. This study investigated vitamin D status in patients with TB and examined the sources of vitamin D in Tbilisi, Georgia.
We measured plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) and dietary vitamin D intake in patients with pulmonary TB (n = 85) in Tbilisi, Georgia. To determine the impact of season on vitamin D status, we tested the in vitro conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) to previtamin D(3) after sunlight exposure.
In subjects with TB, mean plasma 25(OH)D concentrations were 14.4 ± 7.0 ng/mL, and vitamin D insufficiency (25[OH]D <30 ng/mL) occurred in 97% of subjects. The dietary sources of vitamin D were mainly fish, eggs, and butter. The daily intake was well below recommended daily intakes in subjects with TB (172 ± 196 IU). The conversion of 7-DHC to previtamin D(3) was undetectable from October to March and highest in June and July from 11:00 to 14:00 h.
An insufficient vitamin D dietary intake and a limited production of vitamin D from sunlight for most of the year may explain the high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in patients with TB in Tbilisi.