Tags: vitamin D | fights | Crohn's disease | prevent | chornic inflammatory bowel disorder | switch on genes

How Vitamin D Fights Crohn's Disease

Wednesday, 03 February 2010 08:27 AM

Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," might prevent and fight Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder.

Canadian scientists found that vitamin D, commonly available in supplements and cod liver oil, switched on genes responsible for fighting Crohn's disease. The findings are published in the latest Journal of Biological Chemistry.

"Our data suggests, for the first time, that vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease," Dr. John White, endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, Canada, said in a statement.

White noted that people in northern countries receive less sunlight than their bodies need to manufacture sufficient vitamin D.
The study found that vitamin D has a direct affect on two genes — Beta-defensin 2 and NOD2 — which have been linked to preventing or fighting Crohn's disease.

"Siblings of patients with Crohn's disease that haven't yet developed the disease might be well advised to make sure they're vitamin D sufficient," White said. "It's something that's easy to do, because they can simply go to a pharmacy and buy vitamin D supplements. The vast majority of people would be candidates for vitamin D treatment."

"This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn's disease," says Marc J. Servant, a professor at the University of Montreal's Faculty of Pharmacy and study collaborator. "We have identified a new treatment avenue for people with Crohn's disease or other inflammatory bowel diseases."

According to the Mayo Clinic, Crohn's disease causes chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include abdominal pain and cramping, severe diarrhea, bleeding, and weight loss. It mainly affects the small or large intestine, although it can affect any part of the digestive tract. Although victims may have long periods of remission, the disease usually recurs throughout life.

The NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements recommends that adults under the age of 50 get 200 IU of vitamin D each day. Adults 50-70 should get 400 IU daily and adults ages 71 and above should have an intake of 600 IU each day.

About 500,000 Americans suffer from Crohn's disease, which is also called ileitis or enteritis.

© HealthDay

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Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin," might prevent and fight Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disorder.
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Wednesday, 03 February 2010 08:27 AM
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