Vitamin D Fights Crohn's Disease

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A new study
has found that Vitamin D can counter the effects of Crohn’s disease.

Researchers
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.

Source:
Eurekalert
January 27, 2010

Dr. Mercola’s
Comments:

Science has
known for some time of the importance of vitamin D in the treatment
of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative
colitis. I posted a study
on this ten years ago.

In my view
it is reprehensible and irresponsible not to measure the levels
of vitamin D in patients with this disease. You need to measure
the vitamin D level in your blood, as it is virtually impossible
to simply know whether or not it is in the therapeutic levels of
55 to 65 ng/ml.

If you or
someone you know has this disease, please beg them to get their
vitamin D level monitored. Most adults need at least 5000 units
per day, but some may actually require up to 50,000 units per day.
There is just no way of knowing without measuring.

Also there
is NO benefit, and likely some harm if you take too much. So simply
popping loads of vitamin D pills is not the way to optimize your
vitamin D. The only time you don’t need to measure your vitamin
D levels is when you have nearly daily access to high-quality sunshine.

Crohn’s
Disease Is an Immune System Disorder

Crohn’s
disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of your
gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Any area of
your digestive tract can be affected, from your mouth to your anus,
but Crohn’s most commonly affects the lower part of your small
intestine known as the ileum. Swelling from the inflammation can
be painful and often results in diarrhea.

Crohn’s
is found in men and women in equal numbers and seems to have a genetic
component. About 20 percent of Crohn’s sufferers also have
a relative – usually a parent or sibling – with some form
of inflammatory bowel disease.

The cause of
Crohn’s is thought to be impairment in the way your immune
system handles intestinal bacteria. This improper immune system
response leads to an inflammatory condition that can result in an
autoimmune disorder.

If you have
an autoimmune disorder, it means your immune system is attacking
and destroying healthy body tissue.

Vitamin
D is the Miracle Nutrient for Your Immune System

One of the
reasons that vitamin D may work is that it helps your body produce
over 200 anti-microbial peptides that help fight all sorts of infections.
There are many experts that believe inflammatory bowl disease has
an infectious trigger.

From a recent
Oregon State University press
release
:

A new study
has concluded that one key part of the immune system, the ability
of vitamin D to regulate anti-bactericidal proteins, is so important
that it has been conserved through almost 60 million years of
evolution and is shared only by primates, including humans –
but no other known animal species.

The fact
that this vitamin-D mediated immune response has been retained
through millions of years of evolutionary selection, and is still
found in species ranging from squirrel monkeys to baboons and
humans, suggests that it must be critical to their survival, researchers
say.

Even though
the "cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide" has several
different biological activities in addition to killing pathogens,
it’s not clear which one, or combination of them, makes vitamin
D so essential to its regulation.

The research
also provides further evidence of the biological importance of
adequate levels of vitamin D in humans and other primates, even
as some studies and experts suggest that more than 50 percent
of the children and adults in the U.S. are deficient in "the
sunshine vitamin."

"The
existence and importance of this part of our immune response makes
it clear that humans and other primates need to maintain sufficient
levels of vitamin D," said Adrian Gombart, an associate professor
of biochemistry and a principal investigator with the Linus Pauling
Institute at Oregon State University.

In simple
terms, if you’re vitamin D deficient, your immune system will
not activate to do its job. And since vitamin D also modulates (balances)
your immune response, it prevents an overreaction in the form of
inflammation, which can lead to autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s
disease.

How Much
Vitamin D Do You Need?

As I said previously,
the only way to determine the correct oral dose of vitamin D is
to have
your blood tested
.

I recommend
using Lab Corp in the U.S. If you get it done by Quest, you’ll
need to divide your result by 1.3 to get the number that actually
correlates with all the research.

Getting the
correct test is the first step in this process, as there are TWO
vitamin D tests currently being offered: 1,25(OH)D, and 25(OH)D.

The correct
test your doctor needs to order is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin
D, which is the better marker of overall D status. This is the marker
that is most strongly associated with overall health.

Next, the
“normal” 25-hydroxyvitamin D lab range is between 20 and
56 ng/ml. As you can see in the chart below, this conventional range
is really a sign of deficiency, and is too broad to be ideal.

In fact, your
vitamin D level should never be below 32 ng/ml, and any levels below
20 ng/ml are considered serious deficiency states, increasing your
risk of as many as 16 different cancers and autoimmune diseases
like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, just to name a
few.

The OPTIMAL
value that you’re looking for is 55–65 ng/ml.

This range
applies for everyone; children, adolescents, adults and seniors.

These ranges
are based on healthy people in tropical or subtropical parts of
the world, where they are receiving healthy sun exposures. It seems
more than reasonable to assume that these values are in fact reflective
of an optimal human requirement.

Keeping your
level in this range, and even erring
toward the higher numbers in this range
, is going to give you
the most protective benefit. And the way you maintain your levels
within this range is by getting tested regularly – say two
to four times a year in the beginning, and adjusting your vitamin
D intake accordingly.

Vitamind.Mercola.com:
New Resource for all the Latest Vitamin D News

Vitamin D,
the powerful “sunshine” nutrient, is known for its many
wonderful benefits including protection from multiple sclerosis,
diabetes, cancer, and other diseases.

Because it
is so vital to your health, I’ve added a special section to
my website dedicated exclusively to keeping my readers updated on
all the late-breaking vitamin D news.

Vitamind.Mercola.com
provides you with important vitamin D resources you can’t easily
find on the web, such as articles, tips and an online forum that
will help you avoid vitamin D deficiency and lead a healthier life.

I encourage
you to bookmark this link and visit it often to stay on top of all
the latest research and guidance on optimizing and maintaining your
vitamin D levels.

Related
Links:

February
22, 2010

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