Date: December 15, 2023. A study reported on October 13, 2023, in Medicine has uncovered a significant association between lower vitamin D levels and heightened markers of inflammation in individuals with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The research also highlighted a prevalent occurrence of vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency in IBD patients compared to their healthy counterparts.
Summary: Inflammatory bowel disease, encompassing Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, has been linked to lower levels of vitamin D. Malabsorption and reduced food intake among those with IBD contribute to vitamin D insufficiency, which can lead to various complications. Lead author Dr. Antonia Topalova-Dimitrova, MD, from University Hospital St Ivan Rilsk in Sophia, Bulgaria, emphasized the potential risks associated with insufficient vitamin D in IBD patients, including an elevated risk of relapse, disease recurrence, osteoporosis, and calcium deficiency due to its impact on inflammation and IBD development. The study aimed to explore serum vitamin D levels in IBD patients compared to healthy individuals and assess the correlation with inflammatory markers.
Research Details: The study involved 92 diagnosed IBD patients and 14 healthy participants. Vitamin D insufficiency, defined as serum levels between 12–30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), was found in 66.3% of IBD patients, while deficiency (levels less than 12 ng/mL) occurred in 32.6%. Among healthy participants, 57.1% had insufficiency, and 7% were deficient. Lower vitamin D levels were associated with higher inflammatory markers, including erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, fecal calprotectin, white blood cells, and platelets.
Recommendations: Dr. Topalova-Dimitrova strongly advises evaluating vitamin D levels in individuals with IBD due to the associated risks of disease relapse, surgical interventions, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency, and reduced responsiveness to biologic treatments. She suggests that improving vitamin D levels can be achieved through dietary enhancements, increased sunlight exposure (though challenging for those with IBD), or oral supplementation.
Source: Life Extension Foundation/ Science and Research