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Vitamin D for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

December 10, 2000 | 52,192 views

The all-important nutrient, Vitamin D, may help to reduce some of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis, new research suggests.

Researchers from Pennsylvania State University note that "Anecdotal data suggest that the amount of vitamin D available in the environment either from sunshine exposure or diet may be an important factor affecting the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in humans."

They decided to test the theory in animal experiments by using mice genetically predisposed to develop symptoms resembling human IBD. The mice were separated into 3 groups.


  • One group was made vitamin D deficient

  • Another group was kept vitamin D sufficient

  • Another group was supplemented with active vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol).

Vitamin D deficient mice rapidly developed diarrhea and a wasting disease, leading to death.

The vitamin D sufficient mice did not develop diarrhea, waste or die.

However, mice who received the active vitamin D supplement had their symptoms of IBD significantly reduced in as little as 2 weeks. It also blocked the further progression of the disease.

Journal of Nutrition. 2000;130:2648-2652

This form of vitamin D is only available as a prescription and it is called Rocaltrol. It is typically used for kidney failure patients as that is where the second hydroxylation occurs to make the pro hormone vitamin active to the real hormone vitamin D.

For those with inflammatory bowel disease who are not responsive to the eating plan this might be something to consider. Additionally I have seen some patients with IBD improve with Probiotics.

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