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Vitamin D

Has anyone else seen this report?

“Canadian researchers have found that Vitamin D may be able to combat and even prevent symptoms related to Crohn’s Disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder associated with diarrhoea, intestinal pain and weight loss.

The study, conducted at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, was originally designed to investigate the nutrient’s ability to treat cancer cells, but scientists discovered that Vitamin D had a beneficial effect on two genes associated with inflammatory bowel disorders.

Lead researcher John White and his colleagues found that Vitamin D supplementation forced a reaction in the beta defensin 2 and NOD2 genes, which alert cells to the presence of invading microbes. If NOD2 is deficient or defective, the gene cannot combat microbial attacks in the intestinal tract.

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, said study collaborator Marc Servant”.

I only received the report last week. It is interesting because I have vastly improved this year and I wonder if Vitamin D has anything to do with it? I have never used a Vitamin D supplement in my life, apart from the last six months.

I have had a few firsts in 2011: Firstly, I am sleeping all through the night until the alarm goes off at 6am and this is occurring every single night. I often use to wake up at 4am for continual bowel movements over two hours, which was exhausting and annoying. Secondly, I no longer need to sleep on an old towel and ratty old sheets. I brought the most beautiful set of Egyptian cotton sheets in March, and have not soiled them. Thirdly, I have been wearing incontinent pads as a type of security blanket for years, but in the last few weeks I have felt confident and well enough to leave the house without them.

Since reading that report, I am now wondering how much of that is due to the Vitamin D supplementation? I increased my dosage a few months ago, so not sure if that had a dramatic effect, or it has just been a slow overall process.

I am going to get my Vitamin D levels properly checked with another blood test at the doctors, and then take the maximum safe dosage allowed per day.

Will report back in a few months.
Will report back in a few months.
Please do!

Good to hear you've improved.

I've tried to get my levels tested but for some reason the GP I asked and the gastro aren't bothered about doing it because I get a fair amount of sunshine each day.....i'll ask again :)
I love taking vitamin D, I take D3. Also, living in the Sunshine State helps me get the levels of Vitamin D that you can only get from the sun. :)


I recently read an article called 'Is everything you thought you knew about sun safety wrong?

It talks about the how the sun safety message has sunk in, but now they're debating about (and endorsed by cancer research) that 30 mins sun exposure a day boosts your Vit D and by covering up means you're missing out on a vital nutient.
Vitamin D is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, lowers the risk of MS, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and it's anti inflammatory, creating a calming effect in auto immune diseases where the body attacks itself.
Rates of osteoporosis and rickets are rocketing in the UK, and it's all down to vitamin D deficiency because people are so paranoid about sun exposure.
We make vitamin D in the Summer months, April to Sept, between 10am and 3PM, the ones we've been told to avoid!
So, you need half an hours unprotected sun exposure every day, and you don't need to stay out for 30 mins in one go, your quota can be broken up throughout the day.
So, it's up to you to decide how you boost your vit d levels, whether it's with a supplement or a moderate approach that includes a few guilt free rays!
Just don't burn!
like everything else it's about moderation. Sometime in the sun with out sunscreen is good. Too much is bad. Moderation doesn't work in headlines. but it works for nearly everything

Thanks for such a nice information as all vitamins are important for health and can get from various food supplement. Vitamin D can be get directly from sunlight.
Funny thing is: I get a lot of sun due to my travelling overseas, but I am still classed as deficient. According to my doctor, most people who who live in hot climates, are actually still deficient. Apparently, most people who live in hot climates are deficient because they use sun lotions whilst out in the sun.
Nice article.

I know for me that D3 helped my gut health quite a bit. What I do is take 6000ius a day for a testing value between 60 to 70ng/ml. Thought this was a nice article by a physician on how to supplement and test D3 circulating levels. He goes into details about what supplements work and those to avoid, along with how he has noticed with his patients that age effects our skins ability to manufacture D3.

"Getting vitamin D right"
My Vitamin D is very low, but when I try to supplement with it, it causes me TERRIBLE joint pain. I took it for a long while, thinking I was helping myself. When the pain got worse, I would up the dose. Then I decided that the Vit D might be the source of my pain. I stopped taking it and got better. Went back on and started having trouble again.

My MIL thought I was crazy. She is the one that insisted that I go on it.

Then a few weeks ago we were talking and she let me know that she had a similar experience taking it. Anyone else have bad side effects? I can't find any on the net, but i experienced horrible hand pain and other muscles and joints ached. She had the same thing. It was very strange!
I was curious about Vitamin D and Crohn's too, and found that same article.

I just started taking Vitamin D3 in a gel capsule. I live in the Pacific Northwest where we have very limited sunlight basically October through June, so I started supplementing last week in hopes of helping with my energy level in the winter.

I'll report back what I discover!
The response to vitamin D such as yours indicates a bacterial infection in the joints.

It likely is not the D itself that is causing the problem, but the boost in immune system response to the infection. People with Lyme Disease often have this problem, and avoid D for that reason.

I could not take D either when my flare was real bad. I also could not take my LDN as the ramped up immune system caused me more pain.

My wife, who had Lyme Disease also could not take vitamin D until the bacteria was greatly reduces. Her joint pain was very bad if she took any at all. Now she can use it again.

It is some months since I posted here. My computer broke down and I have only just had it repaired. Just a recap on my original post, I have been using the Vitamin D supplement for around one year and I have had a really good year UC wise. I have only had pain once in December after eating too much pudding. And I only lost control of my bowels twice, and both times were a direct result of too much alcohol consumption, otherwise things are going swimmingly. The Vitamin D seems to be working so far.
Great post on vitamin D and like to share some benefits of vitamin D with everyone.
Vitamin D provides calcium balance in the body and makes bones, teeth and immune system strong. Vitamin D prevents from osteomalacia, high blood pressure, depression.
Many people are D deficient and blood tests can show this, in which case supplementation will improve health a lot. Overdoses are extremely rare* (at mega high levels over 1,000,000 iu/week). Recommended doses are in the range of 14,000-40,000 iu/week. It is lipid soluble and accumulates so a daily dose is not needed. Some studies showed that in cases of D deficiency, sunlight was not always sufficient as its hard to get just the right amount of exposure to UV.

*Cases of overdose involved 'calcification', meaning calcium buildup in various tissues. They occurred when people took too much due to mislabeled quantities or mistyped instructions in over the counter supplements - eg. one guy was taking 10 pills a day and each pill had 10x the intended dose.

personal note: I take vitamin C as precautionary anti-inflammatory factor to balance the purported 'immune stimulation' of the vitamin D (just in case).

Burning daylight: balancing vitamin D requirements with sensible sun exposure.
Med J Aust. 2011 Apr 4;194(7):345-8.
About a year ago my regular dr checked my vitamin D level and it was around 30? and he said it should be at least double that. So he had me take a whole bunch.... Due to quite a bit of traveling during the summer I kinda forgot and stopped taking it.

Jump to December and about 1.5 weeks into starting Lialda my ankles and knees started to swell up and felt very painful... Internets said it could be 3 things; Crohn's, reaction to Lialda (aka kidney failier), or lack of vitamin D. Lialda was making things better so I wasn't going to stop it! so the only thing I felt I had control of/ability to effect was my intake of vitamin D. I started off doing what my DR originally said, 5 days at 10,000iu then dropped down to 4000iu "maintenance" every day.

Its just circumstantial evidence but after 7 days~ pain stopped, knee swelling was down and at 14 days later ankles were better too! Was it just me adjusting to Lialda, the restrictive diets, or the vitamin D.. Dunno!!

I haven't really discussed it with either of my doctors, but will mention it next time I see them. (though my instructions say I should consult them before taking any supplements) I have kinda settled on breakfast with Lialda, and dinners with 4000iu vitamin D, 500mg l-lysine, and every other day a B-complex (the later two cause the l-lysine always worked in past but is scary since it boosts immune response, and Bs for some cold sore/weird sores that formed in my mouth). They all seem to have done their jobs so hopefully that is it! (i just had my blood drawn at 7weeks for kidney and other stuff checked for reactions to Lialda so maybe more answers in a few weeks)

Side note, I too am in pacific north west so pretty low light exposure normally. Especially in winters I don't see light at work before sun is really up, and dark by time I head home. Summers I get to see the sun though but still not too much exposure. I spend my working hours in a dark basement lite only by computer monitors while forced to make them evil internet bits move.

edit - note2, Growing up and before I went off to college I worked on a farm all day. As such spent most days with out a shirt and driving a tractor(open to air, no cab) from dawn to dusk, that probably helped me a lot in comparison to my current job! haha! (though was exposed to quite a bit of random chemicals from sprays hmmm I will probably be well preserved someday)
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The mouth sores also. It's something my mom swares by and definitely seems to shorten the duration of them.
DX: Crohn's Dec 2011
Meds: Lialda

I've had incredible results with Vitamin D. I don't consider it just a supplement--I think it's the best treatment I've had in nine years with Crohn's.

Last year (Feb. 2011), I went for a physical and again complained about fatigue. My doctor saw that my vitamin D was "a little low"--it was 24 ng/ml. (A lot of doctors consider 30-100 ng/ml "normal" and don't tell patients it might be a good idea to take more if they're in this range--but they should). So, I got prescribed 50,000 IU of Vitamin D2 once a week for 12 weeks. (Doctors typically use D2 to boost your vitamin D stores (perhaps because it has a much longer half-life in your body than D3), and then tell patients to take the recommended daily value of D3 afterward.

Anyway, my health improved DRAMATICALLY: Crohn's symptoms very significantly reduced; huge increase in energy, focus, productivity, and mood. My vastly improved status lasted for 2 months after I finished the prescribed high doses of vitD. The following month I didn't feel well--may have had bronchitis. Went and got my VitD level checked (3 months after I stopped the doses)--it was only at 38 ng/ml. I started supplementing again, but with D3 (I didn't know I'd been prescribed the D2 form). D3 worked great, at least initially.

I was stressed as I'd just started law school and may've taken too much D3 so I decided to stop for a while. I'm now considering taking high doses again. While the authorities online all claim D3 is a lot better than D2, I had a lot of success with D2, so it's difficult for me to know which to go with now.

I'd also like to note: A user that posted on crohnsboy.com has a remarkable Crohn's and Vitamin D story. Here it is, in 2 installments:

"Hi, its Mike from Nevada I want to say I was so sick from Crohns for almost 20 years, bleeding, couldn't leave the house because it was so bad. I read somewhere Vitamin D3 mighthelp, so I startedtaking it at 2000 iu a day then to 10000 iu a day. Its been about 3weeks now and everything stopped, I feel better than I did as a kid. If you do take the higher doses of D3 many doctors say you must check your blood levels so you don't overdose. Give It ashot its under 5 bucks at most any grocery store and let me know."

And here's a follow up from a year later:

"Doing good, still taking 10000 IU a day of vitamin D3.
Cur-cumin 5 pills 3 times a day.
Coffee is the only thing that messes me up, yet I cant quit
IT!!!!!!!!!Still no drugs I feel I will be 100% healed if I can just give
up the caffeine.
On and off scd."
Most people are Vitamin D deficient. Crohnies take it to a whole different level.I was taking prescription strength vitamin D before I knew I had crohns.
We may try D2 as my fiancé is still at 19 blood level same as when she started supplementing with d3 months ago. (8,000 iu a day) I even force her to take magnesium which she hates the taste of.
Jeff I've been on that dose for a couple of months but because I've been through so much can't report any benefits but certainly no side effects, I was originally prescribed it when I had my ileo as I couldn't maintain magnesium as research suggests that d3 can help maintain it. Apparently their is actually a shortage of d3 at the min as all over the world people are keen to try out the reported benefits that many people have claimed.
I've read this before and thought to post, if concerned about consuming to much vitamin D3 causing toxicity, taking vitamin K2 is thought to help prevent this. The two vitamins tend to work together. When one nutrient is plentiful in the diet, the other can become deficient.

The nice benefit about vitamin K2 that I have noticed is that it seems to help regulate bacteria levels in the mouth. Since I began supplementing I stopped forming cavities.

If you do look to take vitamin K2, much like vitamin D3 best to purchase in fat form. Dry powder D3 and K2 tablets are probably not absorbed by most of us. Even in healthy bowel people, most are not able to absorb dry power D3, from what I've read.

The brand of K2 that I take as it combines the two types of K2 sold (K2-4 and K2-7) is Life Extensions product. I'm sure there are many other good K2 products on the market also.


& vitamin K2 is found naturally in butter, cheese, grass fed meats, eggs, & organ meats.

"The Many Virtues Of Butter"



...Furthermore, vitamin K2 prevents against vitamin D toxicity and such toxicity could actually be a sign of vitamin K2 deficiency more than too much vitamin D. Vitamin K2 has also been shown to reduce the amount of acidophilus bacteria in our mouths. Acidophilus can do wonder for us in our gut, but is strongly associated with tooth decay when present in our mouth.

Vitamin K2 as been shown to be important for brain function and the reproductive system. Vitamin K2 deficiency might also be the cause of most kidney stones because it has the ability to prevent calcium oxalate crystals from forming, which is what causes kidney stones.

In the traditional cultures studied by Dr. Price, people took great care to feed food rich in K2 like butter, liver or fish eggs to pregnant or lactating women. Improper amounts of K2 during the child’s development has been shown to cause calcification of cartilaginous areas of the bones that are supposed to continue growing. This creates an underdeveloped facial structure which leads to a lack of room for all the teeth to come out straight....
Oh, and if you did not see in the news, it seems that vitamin D3 and K2 also increase fertility considerably! The supplements raise testosterone levels in men, and progesterone and oestrogen levels in women. Unless looking to produce a child, best to take birth control precautions if supplementing!

"Vitamin D and fertility in men and women"



"Sunny break may be alternative to IVF: How the sunshine vitamin can help boost fertility"



Chief Dandelion Picker
I had bloodwork done in December. My GP's office called *today* to ask me to come in and discuss low Vitamin D. This is a first for me. In addition to discussing what happened to cause an unacceptably long delay, I'll be interested to see what my levels are and how long it will take to get them back to normal.
My mother, both brothers & I all suffer with low energy & depression in the winter... even Pristiq is not enough to "fix" me in the winters.
I heard about the benefits of fish oil, esp in combination with D3.

Started at Thanksgiving, when I was going to work literally in a fog, spending the day just staring at the wall past my computer. No energy to even care if someone noticed that I couldn't get any work done. Winters are always like this for me/us. Within two weeks, I was a new woman.

I now don't think I'm a "depressed" person or chemically imbalanced at all.. or if I am chemically imbalanced, it's because my vitamins got out of whack, which affected chemicals down the line... so few doctors look at the body as a holistic experience. Now, my brothers are trying it too. The difference is really amazing.

My 7yo daughter is ADD as well. We always said we would not medicate her unless her impulsiveness/behavior became an impediment to her grades or started interfering with the general classroom. Suddenly, around Christmas this year, her grades & behavior just totally dumped. The teacher was at a loss, we were at a loss... for the first time I was wondering if maybe we should consider medication. She was miserable as well, so sad bc she was constantly in trouble, and it was a constant cycle.
I read about fish oil & Vit D3 also helping children with ADD improve in stillness, attention span, behavior, cognition, you name it, and that they are often vitamin-deficient compared to "normal" children.. she's been on it for two weeks, and her last two spelling tests (the end of each week) she has gotten 100% on - FOR THE FIRST TIME ALL YEAR. Her behavior reports are suddenly back to positive comments & good behavior. She is like a new child. I really didn't expect a miracle! But holy moly, it almost is one!
David, what do you mean about 'natural' D3 instead of synthetic, and how do you know? i take a D3 supplement (cholecalciferol?)
How do I know if it is natural or not?
And Beach, what is fat form? I take K2 now also, but both are just pills. I assume they are dry powders?
David, what do you mean about 'natural' D3 instead of synthetic, and how do you know? i take a D3 supplement (cholecalciferol?)
How do I know if it is natural or not?
And Beach, what is fat form? I take K2 now also, but both are just pills. I assume they are dry powders?
When mentioning fat form, I was thinking of the liquid oil of vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 that is often sold in stores. Both vitamins are fat soluble and in order for the body to absorb them fat is needed. From what I've read, the powder form of the fat soluble vitamins will most of the time pass on through the gut system, not being used.

Recall this cardiologist's article about his experience with vitamin D3. Of his patients that take the power form of the vitamin, through testing he was able to see that most were not able to absorb it.

"Getting vitamin D right"


I do not believe there is a vitamin K2 test. So there would not be a way to determine if the power K2 can be used by the body or not. I would suggest since you have the power K2 that you take the tablet with some olive oil at the same time. The combination should will help with absorption.

Kind of chuckling about this. I'm looking at the bottle of vitamin K2-4 and K2-7 that buy. The product is a soft gel containing oil inside. I see on the ingredient listing bees wax. I used to work in the health food industry over 10 years ago. if I remember correctly, bees wax is added to soft gels in order to suspend a power into an oil. Basically my K2 came in a power form, and the manufacturer added oil to it and then encapsulated the product.

Thought to add that in Canada I've read that both forms of vitamin K2 are sold, but curiously health officials there do not allow a therapeutic dosage for vitamin K2-4. Officials seem to believe K2-4 and K2-7 are the same. Both vitamins are close to being the same, but have read that there are a few differences in their usage in the body. If you have K2-4, next time buying you might consider purchasing K2-7. Vitamin K2-4 seems to be important for health also so you might consider making a point of eating some foods high in it.

This article has a mention on natural foods high in MK-4.

"Vitamin K2, menatetrenone (MK-4)"


Good luck, hope that helps! Not to steal David's thunder but cholecalciferol is what you want, that is considered the natural form of vitamin D sold in stores. Of course the true natural form of vitamin D is sunshine, UVB rays.
Thanks Beach, I read that Dr.'s blog you linked about vitamin D and it is good info. I wonder if I can crush my d3 tablets in a bit of olive oil, or if it is not good to crush them? just swallowing them whole seems funny, because the oil may be long gone by the time the pill has dissolved in my stomach.
My K2 is Menaquinone 7 100mcg. I have read such amazing things about this vitamin and the role it plays in D absorption, bone density and calcium distribution etc. but I also heard it is important not to overdue it, because it does affect blood viscosity. A pharmacist I spoke to said, "Oh, why take that? it turns the blood into sludge."
But I still take it once a day (or two) with my D. Just hope it doesn't lead to stroke or heart problems. I heard that it does not block blood vessels, but actually helps open them by removing calcium deposits?? So confusing, so many opinions about everything.
Ah, good question Jobell about crushing the vitamin D tablets and adding to olive oil. My guess is it probably would help with absorption with more surface area exposed, but that is just a guess. Something to experiment with.

Yeah, that seems to be the main item mentioned about vitamin K2, in animal studies at least it removes calcium plaque deposits. In Japan I believe K2-4 is even given to prevent heart disease. The item i have enjoyed about K2 is its ability to work with D3 and apparently prevent dental cavities. That has been wonderful. My dentist personality wise is a nice guy, but the less I see him and his drill the happier I am!
My husband says he takes vitamin D in a spoon of peanut butter. I wonder if that would work? I eat organic pb and it is very oily.
Yeah, would have to imagine peanut butter would do the job helping with absorption.

Probably for me, if I was looking for a fat to eat it would be dutch gouda cheese. That also seems to go down well and is delicious.
"Furthermore, while serum 25(OH)D levels increase in response to increased vitamin D intake, the relationship is non-linear for reasons that are not entirely clear [1]. The increase varies, for example, by baseline serum levels and duration of supplementation. Increasing serum 25(OH)D to >50 nmol/L requires more vitamin D than increasing levels from a baseline <50 nmol/L. There is a steeper rise in serum 25(OH)D when the dose of vitamin D is <1,000 IU/day; a lower, more flattened response is seen at higher daily doses. When the dose is ≥1,000 IU/day, the rise in serum 25(OH)D is approximately 1 nmol/L for each 40 IU of intake. In studies with a dose ≤600 IU/day, the rise is serum 25(OH)D was approximately 2.3 nmol/L for each 40 IU of vitamin D consumed [1]."

This seems completely counterintuitive! Here's the link to the full article http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

(it mostly looks at supplementation in people who are absorbing correctly, if you do not absorb fats well then you will need more vit D as it is fat soluble)
I have been taking 10,000 iu of D-3 for most of the Winter, except when I was in the hospital. I just got the results of my D test and it was 30.

The year before I took 5,000 iu and had the same results. I really do not think I am absorbing any D from the supplements. I have used two different brands so I do not think it is from faulty product.

I think I will have to use another method to get it up to over 40.

I do take it with Coconut Oil when I am at home, but I often am not home when I take it. Dr. Mercola has a Vitamin D spray. Maybe I will try that and see if it helps.

So I ordered the Vitamin D3 plus and I have had C start taking him. His vitamin D levels were in the low 30's and Ped GI recommended he start. I am guessing he will need his levels tested again after supplementing for awhile, should this be 3 months, 6 months, a year. And I just read through this thread and started thinking should I get him to also take the vitamin with peanut butter, I know he will turn his nose up at taking it with olive oil.
Thanks David! Do you take your vitamins with oil or anything for better absorbtion? I just want to make sure that C is getting the most out of supplementation. His energy levels still aren't great and I am hoping this is part of the reason why.


Naples, Florida
I don't take vitamin D as I don't need it but if I did, I'd try to take some sort of fat with it to hopefully increase absorption, especially if it was the tablet kind of vitamin D. I know Judith takes hers with her fish oil.
Oh yeah read back up the thread that was Beach talking about peanut butter but thanks for the advice David!


Crohnsforum Science Advisor
I don't take vitamin D as I don't need it but if I did, I'd try to take some sort of fat with it to hopefully increase absorption, especially if it was the tablet kind of vitamin D. I know Judith takes hers with her fish oil.
David has an impressive serum level of Vit D in the 80's (so jealous). I thought you took supplements though. I am very very impressed and very very jealous.

My serum Vit D level came back a couple of weeks ago at a pitifully low 27. I was shocked to see how low it was since I had been spending a lot of time outside and I supplement with 5,000 IU D3 per day. In all honesty, I was more concerned that I was supplementing too much (because I had been spending so much time in the sun in addition to taking D3 supplements).

I called David to discuss my low Vit D levels and he immediately knew I was taking the pill form of Vit D3 (rather than the oil based form). He said he has had this same conversation 100 times. The pill form (without the fat) does not work as well as the supplements in oil.

Unfortunately, all of the oil + Vit D3 supplements (every single one that I could find anyway) have a soy base. I am VERY allergic to soy. So, I obviously chose the pill form as that was my only alternative.

NOW I take my D3 pill with my fish oil and have increased my dose. I dont have the results back yet. My physician said he will retest in a couple of weeks. I will let you guys know if the D3 + Fish Oil combination works. :)

Another thing that was probably affecting my D3 levels is my use of Steroids. My last D3 blood test was taken while I was also on Prednisone, Aspirin and Avelox which interact. I know many people on this forum are also trying to supplement D3 while taking Prednisone as well. Yet another vicious cycle on the CrohnsForum......
My lab said my vitamin D levels are normal now. I went out in the sun a little bit from time to time and took about 500 UI of vitamin D3 per day. (I already take Glutamine at 3 grams / day and skullcap so I don't want to take too much together, I am overly sensitive to ever getting something to my liver because my dad drank too much and he had liver issues, I don't drink) I also called them about celiac and I don't have that either. Good day today for me.
Hi, yeah I'm 20 and I was diagnosed with Crohn's at 18. I have been on Vitamin D supplements twice. Prescribed ones that were 50,000 units per week. I noticed no changes at all.