A recent study (J Gubatan et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; 15: 240-6) examined a prospective study of 70 patients with ulcerative colitis (UC). These patients (average age 48.6 yrs) were initially in clinical remission. Key findings:
- Mean baseline vitamin D (25-OH) level was lower among patients with subsequent relapse (29.5 ng/mL) than those without relapse (50.3 ng/mL)
- Over 12 months, a 25-OH D value <35, was associated with a small increased risk of relapse (odds ratio1.25). 20% of patients with a value <35 had clinical relapse compared with 9% (P= .003) who had values >35.
Because vitamin D levels are inversely related to UC disease activity, this study is particularly intriguing. By enrolling patients prospectively while in remission, this study suggests that good vitamin D levels may directly have immunoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.
The AGA Journals blog provides an excellent summary of this study: Can Vitamin D Affect Risk of Ulcerative Colitis Relapse?
“In an editorial that accompanies the article, Stephen Hanauer reminds readers that the mean vitamin D level in the entire cohort was 44 ng/mL, and 60% of the subjects were taking vitamin D supplements. A normal vitamin D level is considered to be 20–40 ng/mL in healthy individuals, and the 35 ng/mL cut-off level used in the study was within this range.
Hanauer also mentions that in assessing the confidence intervals for risk of relapse at lower or higher vitamin D levels, there does not appear to be a dose–response effect in the odds ratios according to levels. Based on these findings, Hanauer says it would be premature to target a level of 35 ng/mL. He states that the best predictors of clinical relapse are still endoscopic and histologic markers of inflammation.”
My take: At this time, trying to maintain a normal vitamin D level is likely to be worthwhile; though, values obtained during acute flares remain unreliable.
Related blog posts:
- Understanding Why Vitamin D Deficiency is Not So Common Afterall
- Common to be “D-ficient” | gutsandgrowth
- Explaining the Vitamin D Paradox | gutsandgrowth
- Why Adding Vitamin D May Not Help IBD | gutsandgrowth
- The Search for a Dietary Culprit in IBD | gutsandgrowth
- Vitamin D, IBD, and Causality | gutsandgrowth
- Single High-Dose Oral Vitamin D Therapy … – gutsandgrowth
Disclaimer: These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications/diets (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician/nutritionist. This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.