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Vitamin D Deficiency has a role in Crohn's and IBD?


This video talks about the importance of vitamin D (which is best absorbed by humans from sunlight) for health. The video mentions how it is thought that a vitamin D deficiency is thought to lead to more autoimmune diseases (like Inflammatory Bowel Disease). They showed how more northern climates (which have colder climates/less sun) often have greater occurences of things like colon cancer and MS than southern climates. Vitamin D was also explained to be anti-inflammatory.

This was something new to me. It makes some sense to me as it seems that Canada has one of the world's highest rates of IBD. It may have a higher rate than the US due to a colder climate and less sunlight, even though the diets are fairly similar.

While vitamin D needs differs, the video said that we should all be trying to get something like 5,000 IUs a day, but some people may need double that or more. The daily recommended intake though is currently like 400 IUs. It recommends sunlight as the best source of this (and says that as long as exposure is not excessive, it is safe for you) or that if you take a vitamin make sure you are taking it in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol). D2 is another form that is synthetic and an inferior form.

Has anyone else heard anything about this before?


ele mental leprechaun
Yep I have heard of it because I have this problem and posted about it last Autumn Michael.

I was put on Adcal D3 in Summer 07 which is a calcium supplement with Vit D added. Vit D helps absorption of Calcium.

Despite having the Adcal twice a day as a chewable tablet AND a multivit with Vit D in it my Rheumatology team found my levels were VERY low last August but only told me in clinic in October. They said "you need to be taking Adcal or Calcichew daily". When I pointed out I was PLUS the multivit they really jumped lol

Within 48hrs it was organised for my GP to give me an intramuscular injection of Vit D (300,000 iu believe it or not because it was into the muscle and breaks down over a period of time). Rheums think that is why I have been suffering bone pain - because I am not absorbing my Vit D and so cant uptake the calcuim either so well. As a result my bones were soft - hence the pain.

I also have had a terrible time trying to stabilse my crohns and keep ending up on steroids and antibiotics but by the time I have another colonoscopy it is always clear!!

They think I have ongoing inflammation in my gut but just cant prove it because of the timing of everything and have agreed the Vit D has had an impact. There is research out that shows Vit D has an anti inflammatory effect and if you dont have it inflammation takes hold. So makes sense for us lot eh? But if you have inflammation its makes it harder to absorb from our perspective so we cant win!

I wont know for sure if my bone pain has eased due to the Vit D injection until I stop the steroids this time and only have just over a week on the pred to go so keeping my fingers crossed I can get off them and start working some things out!

I see Rheums again Feb 4th for review as I am on Methotrexate for my arthritis with them and they are going to recheck my Vit D levels and try to work out whether I will need regular injections of it and how often.

I see my GI around the same time (waiting for an appointment) to discuss my ongoing problems and I have asked about my other fat soluble vitamins and also about the impact of why I am not absorbing my Vit D when I am supposed to be in remission according to all the scopes yet still having gut problems!

Another aspect is that I dont reabsorb my bile salts as my crohns was initially found in my ileum. Through research I discovered that bile salts are involved in the breakdown of cholesterol - you also have to have cholesterol in your body fat so it converts VIT D from your skin believe it or not! My cholesterol has ALWAYS been low i.e. in the UK normal is 3.5-5 max and mine is 2-3.2.

You absorb 90% through your skin and sunlight is my understanding and the other 10% through your diet. So if my cholesterol is low and I have to wear suncream to prevent burning due to the drugs I am on, I live in the UK with poor sunlight AND my gut isnt absorbing extra supplements then it sort of explains WHY my levels are rubbish eh?

From the sunlight perspective the research I came up with showed we need approx 20mins bare arms and face (legs too if possible) about 3 times a week to benefit from Vit D in the summer. Our levels here in the UK should be between 15-30 summer and 10-20 in winter from what they tell me. Our body generally stores a 2yr supply. My level was down at 10 in the summer so they said they knew I had used up my reserves and had nothing left and as a result were worried what would happen during the winter here.

Took me ages to figure it out and get my head around it all! Really surprised me that something sooooo small could have such a massive impact.

So yeah one for everyone to watch and thats why I posted about it in the treatment section last Autumn.

Glad you brought it up again though as I think its an important one for us all!
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I don't really trust the Dr Mercola website. Any website that jumps up and starts talking to you turns me off. And I must have received about a zillion emails from them after I visited there last year. I did quite a bit of research on Vitamin D after I was tested and my level was 9, which is outrageously low. Why had this never been tested previously? And why was I the one to have to suggest it , not my Gastro or my primary? Everyone should be tested, but especially those with malabsorption issues. I took the recommended prescription super dose for, I forget, 12 weeks I think. Then when I got tested the level was up, but the next time, after being on 2K IU per day, it fell again. I am now on 50K once a week, which is what is recommended for people with malabsorption in an article on Vitamin D in the NEJ of M. and my level is up to 45, or it was a few months ago. I am due for blood work again. Is there a place where I can upload the article in case other people want to read it?
Here is an article from CCFA on Vitamin D


For patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), vitamin D deficiency is associated with lower quality of life and higher disease activity, according to a study presented this week at the 73rd annual scientific meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology


ele mental leprechaun
I agree with your comments Mazen. Those thoughts came up in my own research and I posted about it last Autumn as I felt it was important and surprised me.

Thanks for posting a link.

It is a question I have asked my GI in a letter I wrote and am waiting for an appointment to hear his thoughts because my scopes have been clear each time (on pred and antibiotics each time before) yet I dont absorb my Vit D and end up deteriorating.

Time will tell.


Sports Crohnie
I just posted in another room about this. Switched GI's and first thing she did was do thorough bloodwork revealing my Vitamin D level at 17.

I bought an OTC supplement of Vitamin D. See her in a month - she also recommended something called Drisdol? Anyone use this?


hi mike
never heard about this ,iwill have a read up thanks,
by the way whats your take on milk and crohns ive read quite a bite about the two im pretty convinced there is a link what about you do or did you use to drin alot of milk??


Hi Jamil,

Firstly, I am not an expert on any of this. While I have read up on things like this, I have not had the training to fully understand the human body or to analyze scientific papers. Therefore I can give you my thoughts on what I think makes sense, but I can not give you a formal recommedation or expert opinion.

Anyways, I for one used to be a fairly low milk drinker before I got diagnosed and now I still don't have it that often. I think there are things that should be avoided before milk is though (like sugar) and that dairy does not even have to be avoided by all people. This depends on a lot of factors, however if you find that you tolerate diary products well and want them to be in your diet then I would recommend focusing on low-lactose cheeses and homemade, fermented yogurt (which contains "good" bacteria and no sugar or other ingredients found in the products from the store). If you do consume a lot of diary, I would recommend focusing more on low-lactose cheeses and homemade, fermented yoghurt (which contains "good" bacteria and will not contain sugar or other ingredients found in store bought versions). A list of low-lactose cheeses can be found here. Yoghurt can be made at home without a special machine, and once you have created a batch, you no longer need to purchase bacteria culture mixes as you just use some of your already created yogurt to create a new batch. There are many recipes you can find online for this (like here
More information that indicates vitamin D-3 is needed in greater amounts than currently used by most people.


Vitamin D supplements may help prevent fractures in people over 65, provided they take enough of the right kind. A new review of clinical trials appears to show a strong dose-dependent effect for vitamin D in lowering the risk for nonvertebral fractures in the elderly.

Prevention of Nonvertebral Fractures With Oral Vitamin D and Dose Dependency (The Archives of Internal Medicine)

The lead author of the analysis, Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, a professor of medicine at the University of Zurich, said that “vitamin D in a high enough dose is not only beneficial in the frail older population, but it also works in those still living at home and able to take care of themselves.”

The researchers, writing in the March 23 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, reviewed 12 randomized trials that together included more than 65,000 subjects. Doses under 400 international units a day had no discernible effect, but for doses larger than that, the pooled data showed a 20 percent reduction in the risk for all nonvertebral fractures, and an 18 percent reduction for broken hips.
Well, for you Cannucks and some of us Americans, depending on the two factors of Earth rotation/revolution, some times of the year are like 75%+ sunlight per day with latitudinal extremes, and on the other extreme you have what causes the north/south poles to virtually endure a month of darkness. I say our docs fly us all on a migratory cycle laterally up and down the damn globe, same time zone, more solar-Vitamin D, maybe less Crohns.....Nobel Prize worthy....
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It's the beer, Dan, the beer (I don't know why I'd even think that, I've never drank any....)

I just bought some Vitamin D3 and am taking around 6000 IU now daily, lets see what happens if anything....
It's funny, my uncle told me he just read an article about this too. If it says anything interesting when he brings it over on Easter, I'll post it.

I say our docs fly us all on a migratory cycle laterally up and down the damn globe, same time zone, more solar-Vitamin D, maybe less Crohns.....Nobel Prize worthy....
Haha, you win. :)

I want to buy some vitamin D myself now though. What could the harm be?
Anything is capable of "too much", but Vit D is a water soluble vitamin, like C and E, extra is just excreted via urine. The D3 is cholecalciferol, and is preferable, check the bottle. I got a bottle of 90 caps of 2000 IU each for like $5. I plan to try to get some more sun too, as that's even better (in moderation, of course, ie: 15 min a day extra)


ele mental leprechaun
There was me thinking Vit D was fat soluble Benson like A, E and K...

Have you guys also thought about the impact of Vit D on your calcium uptake? If you dont have enough it could impact on your bones and make them soft because you arent getting enough calcium (this is known as osteomalacia and its what I suffered from last Autumn because despite having oral supplements for the previous 18mths I wasnt absorbing them and ended up with an intramuscular injection). I have had my levels checked since and will be keeping an eye on things as I know now its something I suffer from.

On the other hand too much as Benson says is totally possible.. If you are uptaking too much calcium because of your Vit D levels being high then there is the risk of "stones" i.e kidney. This is something we can already be prone to and dont need to encourage it!

I would recommend anyone who is contemplating augmenting their diet with specific higher doses than in a multivit for instance actually has their levels checked first for the above reasons!

Hope what I have said makes sense..
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You're right Jan, "KADE" is how I remember fat soluble, but I blanked, thanks for the correction. BC is water soluble. Clonazepam has just the potency to make me too drowsy to coherently think, but not enough to knock me out even if I take it at 11PM (last night didn't crash till like 5AM, which is better than 7AM like the other night). I should also make note I am tapering off a quick dose regimen of Pred (no, if anybody thought I mentioned this recently and you missed it, you didn't, I've only been on it 2.5 weeks, and will be down to 20mg this week, already see bad sides and no benefits :angry:)....but I digress....

Yes, "fat" soluble.

I will always know the horrors of kidney stones, my mom has had chronic bouts for decades.
Vitamin D is very important for well-being and a working immune system. I try to eat as much vegetables and fruits that contain Vitamin D as possible and also took supplements for some time. I just felt better after I started taking more vitamins, I was more active and didn't get tired in the afternoon.
I supplement in the Winter when sun exposure is virtually non-existent.

I had my D levels checked last Winter and they were in the normal range, but they will likely raise those levels based on new evidence.
I have lived in Southern California nearly all my life. Where I live now it is nearly 100 degrees every day. I don't spend a lot of time out side, but enough that I should get enough vitamin D. I don't think that is an issue with me. I drank a ton of milk as a child and ate beef nearly everyday before the disease. I think the links to beef and cow products are more likely for my Crohn's. Oh I had also gotten food poisoning a few months before getting really sick. I think it is triggered by many things and is different for everyone. I am just glad to see that someone is researching it. You really don't hear a lot about the disease which is shocking when on just this one forum there are so many that live with it.


Sports Crohnie
Just got bloodwork results and my D levels are up from 17 to 29 after six mos of 1,000 per day. Still low but trend is good!
This is fascinating! I knew vit D was important for preventing breast cancer, rickets, MS and fibro, but I never knew that there was any evidence it had an impact with Chron's and IBD.
I've added Vit. D. to my daily vitamins regimen, but I have also been crushing and liquifying my vitamins, for the past few days. I hope its not just my imagination, but I do feel much better all around, including having more energy. I think that absorption is the key, because it doesn't matter what we put in our systems if our bodies can't properly digest and metabolize it.I never had any digestive problems until I moved to an area right below Canada so, I have also been thinking about how northern folk have a much higher rate of IBD than people who live, or have ancestral heritage, elsewhere. This data certainly confirms the stats on how Crohn's affects almost exclusively Caucasian people, especially Ashkenazim Jews. Ashkenazim ancestry falls mainly in the Eastern European regions, in the colder, more northern climates. Interesting how this all fits into the sun-deprived, Vit D deficiency theory. Eskimos eat lots of fish (EFA/Vit D), so that would explain why there is no high incidence of CD among them, even though they live in a sunshine-depleted region.
I need to ask for a thorough work up of labs. My intestines aren't showing much right now. I had an EGD and colonoscopy last week and I had some esophageal stricturing and a hiatal hernia and some inflammation in the colon but nothing alarming to my GI...to the extent that he seemed a little surprised by my characterization of what is happening to me. I wonder if it is possible that even within the 'normal' zone you can have issues? I would think so. I think the last time my D was checked I was at 35, so technically normal but pretty low on the normal range.
My Vitamin D level went from 31 last July to 42 a month ago. I supplemented all winter with 8,000 iu D3 per day and was taking Magnesium. I plan on getting ALOT more sun this summer and hope to get my levels into the upper levels of 60-80 by the fall.