Daily vitamin D supplement may prolong remission from Crohn's disease
(NaturalNews) Crohn's disease is a difficult digestive condition marked by chronic inflammation, abdominal pain and bouts of diarrhea. According to the Centers for Disease Control, this disease effects around 200 out of every 10,000 adults here in America and can lead to serious, long-term health problems as well. This is because the inflammation that is a hallmark of this disease can eventually damage the intestines and lead to weight loss and malnutrition which, in turn, can lead to problems like anemia (due to lack of iron) or osteoporosis (due to lack of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D). Conventional medical treatment generally focuses in on reducing the inflammatory response in Crohn's disease that causes these problems to begin with. However, recent research has uncovered that simply supplementing with Vitamin D can help manage this condition as well and lengthen the time in between painful flare-ups.
The new study in contextThe new study that has so many people talking was recently published in the United European Gastroenterology journal. To put this study in context, it has been known for some time now that due to the nature of their condition, people with Crohn's disease have more difficulty absorbing some nutrients - like Vitamin D - into their systems. Over time, the lack of these nutrients can cause more secondary health problems for them. And, increasingly, research is also showing that those who have chronically low levels of vitamin D are at great risk for of a compromised immune system as well as increased inflammation, which is the last thing needed by those who suffer from Crohn's.
Perhaps even more importantly, research has suggested that vitamin D levels can also have an impact on the function of the gut barrier. This function, which is part and parcel of intestinal permeability, is known to be an accurate predictor of when this disease will either flare up or go into remission.
What the study showedResearchers, then, wanted to see what the effects of vitamin D supplementation would be on those who have this disease, specifically looking at its impact on the gut barrier function. So in this study, they looked at 27 patients who had Crohn's disease that is currently in remission. Around half this group was given a vitamin D supplement (1,200 IUs) daily while the other half was given a placebo. At the end of the three-month study, it was found that those who had taken the vitamin D not only had decreased inflammation but also had maintained intestinal permeability, while in the other group this had deteriorated.
Researchers say that while more research needs to be done, this at least is a good preliminary study to show that something simple like vitamin D supplementation can actually have a big impact on even a serious, chronic condition like Crohn's disease. Hopefully, further research along these lines in the future will yield even more information on how to use vitamin D to help with more effective Crohn's management.