Researchers in Denmark report that people with active Crohn’s disease are more likely to have low vitamin D levels when compared with patients in remission.
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease, a chronic condition which causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s patients experience a wide variety of disease activity, with periods of flare and remission. Periods of disease activity are determined by an assessment of clinical symptom scores and C-Reactive Protein (CRP), which helps monitor inflammation.
Dr Soren Peter Jorgensen and colleagues measured vitamin D levels of 182 Crohn’s patients and 62 healthy controls. They assessed Crohn’s activity, smoking status, and intake of vitamin D supplements.
The researchers found that Crohn’s disease patients with active disease have lower vitamin D levels than participants in remission. Patients in remission had median serum level of 25 ng/ml, whereas the level seen in mild disease activity was 20 ng/ml and 8 ng/ml in moderately active disease. They also found that CRP levels were significantly lower among participants who used vitamin D supplements.
The authors report that Crohn’s disease participants who smoke have significantly lower vitamin D status than in Crohn’s patients who are non-smokers, 20 ng/ml and 30 ng/ml respectively.
Overall, vitamin D levels among crohn’s participants and health controls were similar. However, people with Crohn’s were more likely to supplement (44%) than controls (10%).
The authors conclude,
“…we hypothesize that vitamin D causally influences disease course in CD [Crohn’s disease] and propose this matter to be further investigated in clinical trials.”