SourceScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2010) — A new study has found that Vitamin D, readily available in supplements or cod liver oil, can counter the effects of Crohn's disease. John White, an endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, led a team of scientists from McGill University and the Université de Montréal who present their findings about the inflammatory bowel disease in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.
"Our data suggests, for the first time, that Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease," says Dr. White, a professor in McGill's Department of Physiology, noting that people from northern countries, which receive less sunlight that is necessary for the fabrication of Vitamin D by the human body, are particularly vulnerable to Crohn's disease.
Vitamin D, in its active form (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), is a hormone that binds to receptors in the body's cells. Dr. White's interest in Vitamin D was originally in its effects in mitigating cancer. Because his results kept pointing to Vitamin D's effects on the immune system, specifically the innate immune system that acts as the body's first defense against microbial invaders, he investigated Crohn's disease. "It's a defect in innate immune handling of intestinal bacteria that leads to an inflammatory response that may lead to an autoimmune condition," stresses Dr. White.
What Vitamin D does
Dr. White and his team found that Vitamin D acts directly on the beta defensin 2 gene, which encodes an antimicrobial peptide, and the NOD2 gene that alerts cells to the presence of invading microbes. Both Beta-defensin and NOD2 have been linked to Crohn's disease. If NOD2 is deficient or defective, it cannot combat invaders in the intestinal tract.
What's most promising about this genetic discovery, says Dr. White, is how it can be quickly put to the test. "Siblings of patients with Crohn's disease that haven't yet developed the disease might be well advised to make sure they're vitamin D sufficient. It's something that's easy to do, because they can simply go to a pharmacy and buy Vitamin D supplements. The vast majority of people would be candidates for Vitamin D treatment."
"This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn's disease," says Marc J. Servant, a professor at the Université de Montréal's Faculty of Pharmacy and study collaborator. "We have identified a new treatment avenue for people with Crohn's disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases."
This study was funded by a grant from McGill University.
SourceActive Crohn's disease is associated with low vitamin D levels.
Jørgensen SP, Hvas CL, Agnholt J, Christensen LA, Heickendorff L, Dahlerup JF.
Department of Medicine V, Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark
2013 Feb 8
BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
Crohn's disease prevalence increases with increasing latitude. Because most vitamin D comes from sunlight exposure and murine models of intestinal inflammation have demonstrated beneficial effects of 1,25-(OH)(2) vitamin D treatment, we hypothesised that Crohn's disease activity is associated with low vitamin D levels.
In a cross-sectional study of 182 CD patients and 62 healthy controls, we measured serum 25-OH vitamin D. Stratified analysis was used to compare 25-OH vitamin D levels with Crohn's disease activity index, C-reactive protein, smoking status, intake of oral vitamin D supplements and seasonal variation in CD patients and healthy controls.
Serum 25-OH vitamin D was inversely associated with disease activity: Median 25-OH vitamin D levels of Crohn's disease in remission, mildly, and moderately active diseases evaluated by Crohn's disease activity index were 64, 49, and 21nmol/l (p<0.01) and by CRP 68, 76, and 35nmol/l (p<0.05), respectively. Patients who took oral vitamin D supplementation had lower Crohn's disease activity index (p<0.05) and C-reactive protein (p=0.07) than non-users. Crohn's disease patients who smoked had lower vitamin D levels (51nmol/l) than patients who did not smoke (76nmol/l), p<0.01. Overall, Crohn's disease patients did not differ from healthy controls regarding 25-OH vitamin D levels
Active Crohn's disease was associated with low serum 25-OH vitamin D. Patients who smoked had lower 25-OH vitamin D levels than patients who did not smoke, independently of disease activity.
Additional Papers and Reading:
- http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=35151 Vitamin D and the NOD2 Gene.
- http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=47789 - Vitamin D helps macrophages target ecoli in Crohn's disease.
- http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=48140 - Interview with Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.
- http://www.crohnsforum.com/showthread.php?t=48267 Track your vitamin D from the sun with your smart phone.
Anyone here supplementing vitamin D? If so, how much, and do you feel it has helped at all?