Vitamin D Deficiency Increases With Severity of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Study finds few patients were adherent to supplements.

Study finds few patients were adherent to supplements.

Inflammatory bowel disease patients were found to be deficient of vitamin D and despite improved results with supplementation, adherence was poor, according to a recent study.

The study enrolled 137 patients at baseline, including 95 patients with Crohn's disease and 42 with ulcerative colitis, however, only 131 patients had contemporaneous vitamin D levels required for participation. The patients, who were aged between 18 and 50 years, were observed for a period of 12 months between 2012 and 2014.

In patients with active disease, 35% had deficient vitamin D levels, while 65% had sufficient vitamin D levels. In those with mild disease, only 23% had deficient vitamin D and 77% had sufficient vitamin D.

At baseline, 38% of patients had either osteopenia or osteoporosis. Osteopenia and osteoporosis occurred in 26 patients despite vitamin D deficiency, while mean vitamin D did not differ among patients with normal versus abnormal bone mineral density (65 nmol/L vs 68 nmol/L).

After 12-months, 29% of patients had low vitamin D, of which 58% were deficient at baseline.

Just 10 of 30 patients who were advised to use vitamin D supplements reported adherence, with 8 of those 10 achieving sufficient vitamin D levels. Meanwhile, 13 of the remaining 20 patients advised to take supplements remained deficient, and 7 achieved sufficient vitamin D levels without supplementation.

None of the patients advised to take supplements had significant changes in their IBD questionnaire scores.

“Despite advice, vitamin D therapy was poorly adopted, but biochemically successful when taken,” the study authors wrote. “As yet, the relationships among disease activity, quality of life, and vitamin D and the role of supplementation are unclear; however, for prevention of future osteoporosis alone, it may be justified given the prevalence of deficiency we have discovered.”