Recent study finds correlation between low vitamin D and inflammation in IBD patients


Compared to healthy controls, patients with IBD saw a higher prevalence of in vitamin D deficiency (32.6%) and vitamin D insufficiency (66.3%).

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A recent study1 found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. In the cross-sectional study, 106 subjects in two groups – one with patients with IBD and one of healthy controls – had their vitamin D levels evaluated. Results showed that, compared to control, patients with IBD saw a higher prevalence of in vitamin D deficiency (32.6%) and vitamin D insufficiency (66.3%). There was also a statistically significant negative relationship between vitamin D levels and inflammatory markers, with lower levels of vitamin D associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers.

“Insufficient vitamin D levels in IBD patients are known to heighten relapse risks and disease recurrence, potentially resulting in complications like osteoporosis and calcium deficiency due to its impact on inflammation and IBD development,” explained one of the study’s authors, Antonia Topalova-Dimitrova, MD, in a press release. Topalova-Dimitrova belongs to the Department of Gastroenterology, University Hospital St. Ivan Rilski and Medical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. That is why this study investigated the effects of serum vitamin D in IBD patients compared to healthy individuals.

Understanding just how vitamin D can modulate inflammation in IBD could lead to targeted interventions, while strategies to address vitamin D deficiency in IBD patients may complement existing treatment protocols to help manage disease severity and relapse, say the researchers. Though the study shows a correlation between vitamin D content and inflammation in IBD patients, more research is necessary to determine the exact mechanisms and establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

“It is strongly advised to evaluate vitamin D levels in individuals with IBD due to the associated risks of disease relapse, surgical interventions, osteoporosis, calcium deficiency, and reduced responsiveness to biologic treatments. Enhancing vitamin D levels can be pursued through dietary improvements, increased sunlight exposure (though challenging for those with IBD), or oral supplementation,” concluded Dimitrova.


  1. Topalova-Dimitrova, A.; Dimitrov, I.V.; Nikolov, R. Lower vitamin D levels are associated with the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases. Medicine, 2023, 102(41): e35505. DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000035505
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