Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that in addition to its well known role in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus exerts immunoregulatory properties. Data from animal studies and from prospective clinical trials on patients with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes point to the potential role of vitamin D as important environmental factor in the development of autoimmune diseases. Such role of vitamin D in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) has not yet been sufficiently studied. This review shows the sources, metabolism and mechanism of action of vitamin D, its effect on the cells of the immune system, prevalence and causes of vitamin D deficiency in patients with SLE, the link between vitamin D status and disease activity as well as recommendations for vitamin D supplementation.
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