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Vitamin D Deficiency – An Increased Risk of Ulcerative Colitis

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Vitamin D deficiency has many adverse effects on health. Therefore, a healthy intake of vitamin D should also be considered for chronic inflammatory diseases, according to a study by the Harvard Medical School.

If patients with ulcerative colitis have too little vitamin D in their blood, then the danger approaches again. Patients with higher vitamin D levels, however, stay in remission for longer. Therefore, check your vitamin D levels and rebuild them in case of a deficiency.

Low Vitamin D Levels in Ulcerative Colitis

Researchers from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), one of Harvard University’s clinics, found that lower vitamin D levels in the blood increased the risk in patients with ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestine, in which ulcers form in the intestinal mucosa. These are accompanied by strong diarrhea and impair one’s quality of life enormously.

In patients with active ulcerative colitis, vitamin D levels are measured regularly.

Low Vitamin D Levels: Consequence or Cause?

Earlier studies with patients suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis had already associated low vitamin D levels with the start of the disease, explains the study’s author Dr. Alan Moss, a gastroenterologist, and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

However, it is unknown whether the relapses lead to a low vitamin D level or whether the low vitamin D values cause or contribute to the regressions. So we checked the vitamin D values in the remission (when the disease is inactive) and accompanied the patients for over 12 months to see how vitamin D values affected the course of the disease.

The study participants were 70 patients with ulcerative colitis who were in remission. The vitamin D levels were measured as well as the values of the inflammatory markers, which were determined not only by blood tests but also by employing biopsies.

The researchers could then show that those patients who suffered a relapse had lower vitamin D levels than those who remained healthy.

Patients who had higher vitamin D levels in relapse were less likely to have an outburst, said Dr. John Gubatan, a physician at the BIDMC and the primary author of the study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in February 2017. This shows that higher vitamin D levels play a role in the prevention of increased symptomatology in ulcerative colitis.

Your Vitamin D Value Should Be Above 35 ng/ml

The threshold value, which seemed to have a protective effect, was above 35 ng/ml of vitamin D. Now Gubatan and Moss want to examine the relationship between cathelicidin and vitamin D.

Cathelicidin is a body-borne protein with antibiotic properties that protects the intestinal mucosa from pathogens, which helps to regulate intestinal flora and protect the intestinal barrier.

The values of cathelicidin are often too low for chronic inflammatory diseases. Vitamin D is considered to be a vitamin that increases the amount of cathelicidin and may thus be so beneficial to ulcerative colitis.