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Vitamin D deficiency linked to active Crohn’s disease

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.”


Jorgensen SP, Hvas CL, Agnholt J, Christensen LA, Heickendorff L, Dahlerup JF. Active Crohn’s disease is associated with low vitamin D levels. Journal of Crohn’s and Colitis. 2013.

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