Vitamin D May Extend Crohn's Disease Remission

Vitamin D may play a role in maintaining intestinal barrier.

Vitamin D may play a role in maintaining intestinal barrier.

Vitamin D may play a role in the successful treatment of Crohn’s disease (CD), a recent study suggests.

Published in the June edition of United European Gastroenterology, the study indicates that vitamin D supplements may improve the intestinal barrier dysfunction linked with Crohn's disease, which may lead to a role for supplementation in treatment of the disease.

Despite prior research suggesting vitamin D supplementation can extend Crohn’s disease remission, the efficacy and mechanisms of this effect are undetermined. The current study sought to evaluate changing gut barrier function determined by intestinal permeability and antimicrobial peptide concentrations, in addition to Crohn’s disease markers, as a result of vitamin D supplementation.

The double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study assigned 27 Crohn’s disease patients in remission to 2000 IU/day vitamin D supplementation or placebo for 3 months. The results showed patients administered supplementation were more likely to maintain intestinal permeability, which declined in the placebo cohort.

Intestinal permeability is associated with gut leakiness, which predicts and precedes Crohn’s disease clinical relapse. Furthermore, patients with the highest vitamin D blood levels showed signs of reduced inflammation as measured by C-reactive protein and antimicrobial peptides.

Patients who received supplements also indicated an improved quality of life.

"This is the first reporting of effects of vitamin D supplementation on intestinal permeability and antimicrobial peptide measures in a CD cohort,” the study authors wrote. “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."

The authors noted that the results warrant a larger randomized trial to assess the results.

"This is an exciting development in the treatment of Crohn's disease and we welcome anything new that could potentially help patients with this debilitating condition,” inflammatory bowel disease expert Charles Murray, MD, said in a press release.