‘Hype and hope but also a dearth of evidence’ for vitamin D as an IBD therapy: Review

By Anna Bonar contact

- Last updated on GMT

Can any single nutrient contribute to multiple complex disease mechanisms and, ultimately, have potential to treat these diseases?
Can any single nutrient contribute to multiple complex disease mechanisms and, ultimately, have potential to treat these diseases?

Related tags: Inflammatory bowel disease, Immune system, Inflammation, Vitamin d

Vitamin D may modify the immune response in people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), according to a review of evidence for vitamin D as a novel therapy for the condition. 

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

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2 comments

Vitamin D is NOT actually a vitamin at all

Posted by Annette,

Vitamin D is a seco-steroid hormone and as such is not truly a vitamin in the recognised sense of the word. So YES, it could be a substance (not a nutrient) that can affect multiple, complex disease mechanisms, in the same way other hormones and steroids can.

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Many studies have concluded that IBD is treated by Vitamin D

Posted by Henry Lahore,

A typical recent study:
Vitamin D improves inflammatory bowel disease outcomes: Basic science and clinical review

http://vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=5674

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