The review by Maria O’Sullivan from Trinity College Dublin looked at scientific evidence of a link between vitamin D and inflammation, with a focus on IBD.
The question she was trying to answer was : "Can any single nutrient contribute to multiple complex disease mechanisms and, ultimately, have potential to treat these diseases?"
“This topic continues to attract interest; there is indeed some unavoidable ‘hype’, some ‘hope’ or promise from emerging scientific data, but a dearth of evidence,” O'Sullivan said.
Effects in animal models
Epidemiological studies suggested that IBD had an increased incidence in northern latitudes, which suggested there might be a link with sunlight patterns and thus vitamin D levels. According to the review, there was also significant evidence supporting vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory effects in animal models of IBD.
She concluded that studies suggested that vitamin D status may be associated with initiation, progression and severity of IBD. Moreover, growing evidence supported vitamin D as a ‘beyond bone’ treatment in IDB.
This was however insufficient to influence clinical practice, O'Sullivan said. “To date, intervention studies of vitamin D treatment for IBD are few, and as yet provide insufficient evidence for translation to clinical practice.”
“For future studies, it may be important to consider how vitamin D-specific and IBD-specific factors influence response to vitamin D treatment.” she added.
The results were presented last year at the winter meeting of the Nutrition Society in London.
Source: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
Published online ahead of print doi:10.1017/S0029665114001621
"Vitamin D as a novel therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: new hope or false dawn?"
Author: M. O’Sullivan