Vitamin D to Counter the Effects of Crohn’s Disease
A new study has found that Vitamin D supplements can counter the effects of Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is a serious chronic and progressive inflammation of the ileum (part of the small intestine that absorbs nutrients), that can lead to frequent bouts of diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and weight loss.
It is estimated that around 65,000 Australians suffer from Crohn’s disease.
Treatment options usually consist of invasive surgeries, removal of sections of the intestines and bowel, and heavy pain-killers and steroidal drugs.
More often than not, these aggressive treatments can do little to prevent a relapse.
However, promising new research from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre has shown that vitamin D supplementation could counter the effects of Crohn’s disease.
According to Dr. White, a professor in McGill’s Department of Physiology, “Our data suggests, for the first time, that Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn’s disease.”
Dr. White noted that people from northern countries, which receive less sunlight that is necessary for the fabrication of Vitamin D by the human body, are particularly vulnerable to Crohn’s disease.
Vitamin D, in its active form (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), is a hormone that binds to receptors in the body’s cells.
Dr. White and his team found that Vitamin D acts directly on the beta defensin 2 gene, which encodes an antimicrobial peptide, and the NOD2 gene that alerts cells to the presence of invading microbes.
Both Beta-defensin and NOD2 have been linked to Crohn’s disease. If NOD2 is deficient or defective, it cannot combat invaders in the intestinal tract.
What’s most promising bout this genetic discovery, says Dr. White, is how it can be quickly put to the test. “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.”
“This discovery is exciting, since it shows how a supplement such as Vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn’s disease,” says Marc J. Servant, a professor at the Unversite de Montreals’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.”
Vitamin D is crucial vitamin for everyone’s health. It is synthesized from sunlight – with as little as ten minutes a day being enough to fulfill our needs.
Unfortunately though, most of us are Vitamin D deficient.
We have written a lot lately on the importance of Vitamin D, mainly due to the fact that Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a widespread and common condition that can be easily avoided.
Vitamin D deficiency can be linked to a range of conditions, including high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, memory loss, stroke, heart attacks, cancer and now, Crohn’s disease and IBD.
Vitamin D has an enormous effect on our moods, mental health and immune system function too, so it is a double edged sword for anyone who already has an autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s disease.
So how can we avoid Vitamin D deficiency?
Well, the answer may not be as simple as getting out in the sun. Different factors affect how we absorb vitamin D.
Getting at least 10 minutes of sunshine everyday does help – and it doesn’t have to be at the hottest time of the day either.
Spend your morning tea break outside, or take a quick walk. It’s not hard.
If you spend all day outside, remember that you still need to cover up too. Don’t throw away the sunscreen or your hat just yet.
If you are unable to get daily sun exposure, then a Vitamin D Supplement is essential. Click Here for Emeds Best Vitamin D Supplements.
So what factors can affect our Vitamin D absorption?
Well, it all comes down to the individual and the conditions. Skin colour, eye colour, weather, atmosphere, UV rays – all these factors affect how much vitamin D we need and absorb.
The best way to determine exactly how much Vitamin D you need is to get your levels tested.
Thanks to scientific advances and new technology, you can now easily find out if you are vitamin D deficient, and discover the nutritional strategies you need to take in order to stabilise your levels. Click here for more information.
Combine this with the Emed Consultation, and you can determine the exact supplements you should be taking to address your underlying health issues. Click here for more information.
What else can I do?
Crohn’s disease is a devastating condition that can rob a person of their livelihood and health. Though there is no known cure for this conditions, there are several steps you can take to reduce symptoms and treat the condition.
- Take a good probiotic formulation. Several studies, particularly focussing on the bacterial strain ‘Saccharomyces boulardii’ have shown good results for the treatment of symptoms and balancing of bacteria in the intestines and bowel. Bioceuticals Ultra Biotic 45 is a powerful probiotic formulation containing 9 different probiotic strains to provide therapeutic treatment of GIT conditions. Click here for more information.
- Take a look at your diet. Eating ‘pro-inflammatory’ food, like refined wheat, grains, processed food, sugar and fatty foods not only increases your chances of developing an inflammatory condition like Crohn’s – they also contribute to poor health, poor immunity and an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke and obesity. Change your habits now for your best chance of leading a healthy life. Read ‘Health Promoting Nutrition’ and our other Nutrition articles for some sound advice.
- Taking your fish oil? Fish oil is very beneficial for anyone suffering from an inflammatory condition as it is one of the best anti-inflammatory nutrients known. We should all get our essential fatty acid levels checked to ensure that we are taking the correct omega-3 ratios. Click here to find out about the Essential Fatty Acid level Test.
- How much do you exercise? We should all aim for at least 20-30 minutes a day minimum. Exercise promotes good health and gives your body a better chance of fighting disease and infection.