Vitamin D deficiency - a risk for inflammatory disease?
Did you know that, according to the French Academy of Medicine, almost 80% of people in the West may be lacking in vitamin D?1
. Yet this nutrient is recognised for playing a role in many of the body’s functions. Though most commonly-associated with bone health, it is also important for the immune system. In this context, a recent study has highlighted a link between an increased risk of inflammatory disease and a lack of vitamin D. Here we report on these new findings and the importance of vitamin D for the body’s defences.
Research into new therapeutic approaches for treating chronic inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have become increasingly prevalent in recent years and are currently the subject of considerable research. Several studies have highlighted the role of genetic predisposition but other potential risk factors have also been identified including a lack of vitamin D. To find out more about this link between low vitamin D and the development of chronic inflammatory disorders of the intestines, a team of researchers carried out a large-scale analysis of the scientific literature on the subject. In particular, they looked at all the studies on Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and vitamin D.
Correcting vitamin D deficiency to prevent and treat inflammatory diseases
Published in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics2
, their analysis demonstrated that patients with inflammatory bowel disease very often have low levels of vitamin D, suggesting that supplementation with the vitamin might prove useful in treating such diseases. To confirm their hypothesis, the researchers examined various scientific papers on vitamin D supplementation. They found that a number of animal studies had already identified an association between an adequate intake of vitamin D and a reduced risk of inflammatory disease. This conclusion was supported by a randomised, controlled study of Crohn’s disease patients which suggested that vitamin D supplementation helps lower both the risk and frequency of relapses of the disease.
This study paves the way for new approaches to preventing and treating chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Vitamin D supplementation may well prove beneficial in helping to reduce the risk of developing Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. While we await further scientific evidence in the months to come, existing data underlines the significance of inadequate vitamin D levels and the benefits of nutritional supplementation. Recommended for correcting deficiency, vitamin D supplements are now available in various forms and dosages: 1000 IU capsules, 5000 IU capsules and a 2000 IU measured dose spray .
> Sources :
1. Académie nationale de médecine, Statut vitaminique, rôle extra osseux et besoins quotidiens en vitamine D - Rapport, conclusions et recommandations, 29 mai 2012.
2. V Pratap Mouli, AN Ananthakrishnan, Review article: vitamin d and inflammatory bowel diseases, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Janvier 2014; 39(2).
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