Most children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have insufficient calcium and vitamin D intake, concludes a new study conducted at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Overall, three quarters of the children fail to meet current guidelines for calcium and vitamin D.
The findings prompted experts at United European Gastroenterology (UEG) to propose routine vitamin D supplementation, healthy eating counselling and intake monitoring. The measures would lower the risks of calcium imbalance, vitamin D deficiency and impaired bone development in children with IBD.
Inadequate calcium and vitamin D status can result in poor bone health, particularly in IBD patients said researchers led by Rita Shergill-Bonner, Principle Dietician at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The team warn that developing children with the condition may not achieve optimal bone mineralisation, increasing risk of stunting. Both calcium and vitamin D are important in bone health, while vitamin D may also improve the effect of anti-inflammatory treatments.
In practice, achieving the recommended intakes of these two nutrients is not straightforward when taking into account their young age and modern eating habits.
“It can be hard for paediatric patients to maintain a balanced diet and a sufficient intake of the right nutrients. We therefore urge the parents and carers of paediatric IBD patients to monitor their children's diets carefully to ensure they are consuming the right foods to help their disease course and ensure adequate and normal development" explains Shergill-Bonner.
This study adds to findings that Vitamin D status is linked to a higher probability of remission in IBD. Additionally, probiotics may improve both physical gut and psychological symptoms in IBS.
"There are many effective drugs available to help treat IBD but there are still a lot of unmet needs in both child and adult patients” comments Professor Philippe van Hootegem, IBD expert at UEG.
Consequently, the nutritional element of treating IBD is critical according to Professor Gigi Veereman, UEG paediatric IBD expert. “It is imperative that healthcare professionals provide all IBD patients with regular and frequent advice on nutrition and healthy eating habits, including guidance on food sources that are rich in calcium and vitamin D”
Source: Presented at the 12th Congress of ECCO, Barcelona, February 15-18, 2017
“Paediatric IBD patients do not meet the daily recommendations of vitamin D and calcium intake: survey based analysis in a tertiary centre”
Authors: Shergill-Bonner R., et al.