Vitamin D supplements may impact on the intestinal barrier dysfunction associated with Crohn’s disease and could have a role in the treatment of the condition associated with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and fatigue, new research has found.
Crohn’s disease (CD) is a lifelong chronic relapsing and remitting gastrointestinal condition, characterized by inflammation, which can involve any portion of the gastrointestinal tract. The exact causes are unknown; however, immune, genetic and environmental factors are thought to be involved. “Whilst the data requires further confirmation, it broadly supports evidence from previous experimental studies that suggest a role for vitamin D in maintaining intestinal barrier integrity,” said the study by Tara Raftery from the St. James’s Hospital, Dublin, Ireland, and colleagues. In this research, published in the United European Gastroenterology Journal, the authors aimed to determine changes in gut barrier function as well as disease markers in CD, in response to vitamin D supplementation.
The authors assigned 27 CD patients in remission to 2,000 international unit (IU)/day vitamin D supplementation or placebo for three months. They found, that patients treated with the supplementation were more likely to maintain their intestinal permeability, whereas this deteriorated in the placebo group. Increased intestinal permeability is considered a measure of gut leakiness, which is shown to predict and precede clinical relapse in CD. In addition, patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D had signs of reduced inflammation and these patients also reported better quality of life.