Home > Uncategorized > Vitamin D and Crohn’s Disease

Vitamin D and Crohn’s Disease

Target Vitamin D Levels 25(OH)D
Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless 65 – 90
Robb Wolf 60 – 80
www.VitaminDCouncil.org 50 – 80
www.GrassRootsHealth.net 40 – 60
Vitamin D IBD Study 30 – 60

There is alot of talk about Vitamin D and its relationship to autoimmune disease and cancer. It appears that those with these diseases have very low levels of Vitamin D. And although its hard to tell which came first, Vitamin D deficiency or the disease, we know it plays an important role on a number of dimensions.

Genetic ExpressionResearch shows that (NOD2) gene insufficiency contributes to the development of the disease. Vitamin D signalling is a direct inducer of NOD2 expression arguing strongly that vitamin D deficiency plays a causative role in Crohn’s Disease.

Vitamin D plays a critical role in preventing and healing leaky-gut –  maintenance of the epithelial barrier integrity of the large intestine by vitamin D is critical in preventing IBD.  The VDR (vitamin D receptor)  is required for mucosal repair andVDR expression suggesting that Vitamin D is involved in the regulation of epithelial wound healing.

Vitamin D controls Zonulin – the molecule that is the glue of tight junctions in the gut lining. If you are deficient in D, the gates will stay open.

Vitamin D acts as an anti-inflammatory immunomodulator in IBD -Vitamin D downregulated Th1 (acting as a natural TNF-a suppressor) and upregulated Th2 responses (increased IL-4 anti-inflammatory cytokines). Th17 responses – a primary driver of  inflammation – were also downregulated.

Those with IBD are also prone to vitamin D intestinal malabsorption so we know that it is difficult to get enough. And that is the key question? How much Vitamin D is enough to help with healing? There are no clear answers but there are some good guidelines available.

Vitamin D

Test Your Vitamin D 25(OH)D Levels

Just as you would test you blood levels for key inflammation markers like CRP & ESR, you should be testing for Vitamin D or 25(OH)D. And while there is no clear theraputic range to target, the above chart gives some good guidance. Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless is a pioneer in treating Autism using LDN and diet. She also treats patients with IBD and suggests the highest target of 65 – 90. The above chart from Mercola is in agreement with her. Robb Wolf and the Vitamin D Council are pretty close in the 60 – 80 range.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

 How much vitamin D3  (and yes you want D3) you supplement with – to get up to the target levels – depends on your situation. Where do you live? How much time do you spend in the sun? How much damage do you have to your ileum? As a result, everyone has to determine their own dosage based on their actual blood level results. For some that may mean 1,000 iu/day. Others may need 5,000 or 10,000 iu/day. Preliminary studies show that  high-dose Vitamin D3 Improves Clinical Activity in Crohn’s Disease.

What kind should I take?

Vitamin D is best assimilated when it is taken with fat, so the D3 you take should be in either an MCT oil or olive oil base.

I know that I’ve just scratched the surface on Vitamin D here. In addition to the Vitamin D Council and Grass Roots Health, the Vitamin D wiki is also a great resource – www.vitamindwiki.com for further research. There are also some interesting discussions on other supplements that support vitamin d such as magnesium, zinc and K2. Making sure you get your Vitamin D levels up to theraputic levels does not insure that you’ll be cured (I wish it was that easy), but it’s cheap, safe and easy to do. So don’t wait! Get your blood levels checked and catch some rays!

“Direct and indirect induction by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 of the NOD2/CARD15-beta defensin 2 innate pathway defective in Crohn’s disease” The Journal of Biological Chemistry, January, 2010 .

Vitamin D and gastrointestinal diseases: inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancerTheraputic Advances in Gastroenterol,  January, 2011

“US research confirms latitude variation in incidence of chronic digestive diseases.”  American College of Gastroenterology, October, 2011

  1. AGrant
    February 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    I am surprised and enlightened by this information, thanks

    • February 2, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      While I focus on Crohn’s, the same basic role/need for vitamin D applies to all autoimmune diseases and most cancers.

  2. February 3, 2012 at 7:30 am

    We’re suggesting no less than 1,000 iu D3 for “normal” folks in New England in the winter… Most docs are sending folks in for 1,000-2,000 iu D3 nowadays too.

    • February 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

      The real issue is what are their blood levels? 1,000 – 2,000 may be fine, or way too low. And it clearly is more important to supplement during winter when it is nearly impossible to get enough vitamin D from the sun.

  3. Nora Helfand
    February 9, 2012 at 2:44 am

    It seems like either the crohns link has been studied more or crohns is more correlated with D deficiency than UC. I’ve been dubious about the D issue since I heard about this study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21996139 linking supplementation to an increase in CRP after a level of 20 is achieved. When I was hospitalized for indeterminate colitis (most similar to UC), I skipped my supplement while in the hospital and still had a D level of 26 – out of the danger zone. I had only been taking this supplement for a month or so, 1200iu/day. Have you heard of this study? Supplementation never appealed to me anyway – my goal is to get my body able to assimilate all the nutrients in REAL food. Supplements seem like another band-aid albeit one that is much less harmful than most drugs. Presumably.

    Do you think D deficiency is a necessary condition to develop ibd?

    • February 9, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      I had not seen that study. I wish these things were more clear cut. It appears though, that low vitamin D levels are connected with virtually all chronic diseases. Here is a chart showing D levels for a variety of diseases…and a level of 26 is not sufficient to prevent any of them except rickets. http://www.grassrootshealth.net/media/download/disease_incidence_prev_chart_032310.pdf I think that its not just 1 thing that causes autoimmune disease – genetic pre-disposition, disruption of gut flora (antibiotics), ingestion of toxins (such as wheat/gluten, NSAIDS, Alcohol, mercury), low endorphin levels, plus low vitamin d levels – all come together to cause disease. That is why it is important to address all of the parts of the puzzle. Fix diet, add LDN, bring vitamin D levels up to targets, and take probiotics.

      You can try to raise D levels using the Sun and fermented cod liver oil. There may also be something to the need to supplement vitamin K2 along with D3. If you find more info. please do share.

      • Stephanie
        May 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

        Very interesting. Our daughter was just diagnosed with Crohns. She has low Vitamin D. We did blood work on our other to children because we are concerned about the genetic factor and both our boys have low Vitamin D. Thank you for sharing this. We had started them on D3 supplements but now I will make sure we don’t let that slide. Thank you again, you may have done something very important for our children with your research.

      • May 18, 2012 at 3:42 pm

        Stephanie, I’m glad I can help. It is important to note that vitamin D is only part of the puzzle. Having the whole family eat closer to a Paleo diet will keep everyone healthy!

  4. Stuart WAlters
  5. July 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Hurrah! Finally I got a blog from where I know how to
    in fact get valuable facts regarding my study and knowledge.

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