Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Autoimmunity and Vitamin D

Dr. Dimitris Tsoukalas, MD


Vitamin D is the focus of intense research in recent years, with positive health outcomes, especially in the field of autoimmune diseases.

New data reinforce the association of low-level vitamin D with an increase in the incidence of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and the like.

Inflammatory bowel disease is a group of autoimmune diseases mainly related to ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Their incidence is steadily rising throughout the world over the last 60 years to the point that they are characterized as a global disease.These are diseases that affect the quality of life of the sufferers significantly and the overall health of their body, both because of the malfunction of the bowel and the side effects of the pharmaceutical therapies that these patients have to take, usually life-long.

Recent studies link low levels of vitamin D with the increased incidence of inflammatory bowel disease and the severity of symptoms at the onset of the disease and suggest its use as an additional therapeutic agent. The lower the levels of vitamin D, the higher the risk of inflammatory bowel disease, and the more severe the symptomatology is. The positive effect of vitamin D is exercised through multiple mechanisms.

Immunoregulatory action

Vitamin D strengthens and restores the immune system to its normal function while restoring the body's ability to recognise its cells and tissues. Loss of recognition of the cells themselves in an organism is the primary cause of the occurrence of autoimmune diseases. The immunomodulatory effect of D is vital in both autoimmunity and cancer.

Control of pathogenic microorganisms

Vitamin D is essential for the production of 200 endogenous antibiotics and the smooth functioning and activation of white blood cells. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased incidence of infections and poor operation of the immune system.

Researchers at Rochester University have discovered a direct correlation of intestinal flora with vitamin D activity. While low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased pathogenicity in the intestine. The alteration of the healthy balance of the intestinal flora is directly related to the occurrence of ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.

Immediate anti-inflammatory action

Vitamin D is a hormone produced in the body by cholesterol, as cortisol and testosterone are produced. It has substantial anti-inflammatory activity expressed through specific receptors (VDR: Vitamin D Receptors). Its direct anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity has been studied in numerous studies and is expressed through the action of its receptors.

The intestine is one of the tissues exhibiting the highest vitamin D receptor concentrations. Achieving ideal levels of vitamin D should be a goal for both prevention and treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. The measurement of the levels of 25 OH D3 should be done in all patients with an autoimmune disease. Ideal values ​​are considered ranging from 50-80 ng

To Your Health!

References:
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