Vitamin D Shows Promise for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

andrew_whitfieldcook's picture

A recent small pilot study has shown promise for the benefit of vitamin D in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in both active ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD).  

Ten patients were recruited, five of each suffering from UC and CD with mild-to-moderately active disease as evidenced by faecal calprotectin levels > 100μg/g. The participant's vitamin D (25(OH)D) level was initially less than 75nmol/L.

When given vitamin D over a 12 week period to raise their levels between 100-125nmol/L, the patients' reported decreased disease activity scores. The mean total dose of vitamin D for the 12 week study period was 492,000IU, with doses being titrated down as their vitamin D levels improved. Vitamin D supplementation was ceased if patients' vitamin D level exceeded 125nmol/L.

The study further reported that no effect was seen on faecal calprotectin levels, nor for other measures of inflammation, but that this may be attributable to the mildness of their condition. Though one patient needed to drop out of the study in week 4 due to viral illness, no serious adverse events such as hypercalcaemia or hyperphosphataemia were reported. One patient did however, develop hypercalcuria. No treatment for worsening IBD was required.

The authors concluded:

Short-term effect of this regimen on disease activity showed improved symptom-based activity scores, but had no impact on objective measures of intestinal or systemic inflammation. Whether this represents a placebo response or was of insufficient duration to significantly change inflammatory indices now requires an adequately powered randomised placebo-controlled trial.

 

PRACTICE POINTS:

  1. While this is only a pilot trial, there is great need for further study in the role of vitamin D in IBD, since other researchers have demonstrated benefits in other inflammatory diseases.
     
  2. IBD patients are at increased risk of malabsorption-induced vitamin D deficiency which has deleterious effects on bones, and may potentially worsen their disease progression. 
     
  3. Follow-up vitamin D, serum calcium, serum phosphate and parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels after 3 months is prudent to track supplementation success and ward against adverse effects.
     
  4. IBD patients are an approved group for screening of vitamin D levels and this same research group has demonstrated significant deficiency among this population. Vitamin D was restricted from use as a screening tool in Australia from November 2014 because of hugely unnecessary costs to the healthcare system.
     

Garg M, Barr A, Rosella O, et al. A specified oral vitamin D supplementation regimen is effective for increasing serum 25(OH) vitamin D and is associated with a reduction in disease activity scores. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015;30(3):126. 


DISCLAIMER: 

The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health. 

 
Share Research: 

SIGN UP TO OUR FREE eNEWS

andrew_whitfieldcook's picture
Andrew Whitfield-Cook

Andrew is a registered nurse of 32 years, with more than 20 years experience in the natural medicine industry. As a Senior Educator at with one of Australia's leading nutraceutical companies, he has the responsibility of explaining complex biochemical processes using simple analogies to help individuals understand how they apply to wellbeing. He delights in researching biochemistry, pathophysiology as well as nutritional and herbal medicines. His favourite patient interests include: gastroenterology, immunology and oncology. He has lectured to nutritionists, naturopaths, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists and doctors Australia-wide.