Vitamin D Preserves the Intestinal Mucosal Barrier
Roy S. Jamron holds a B.S. in Physics from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in Engineering Applied Science from the University of California at Davis, and independently investigates the latest research on celiac disease and related disorders.View all articles by Roy Jamron
It is possible a vitamin D deficiency early in life could be a factor in triggering the onset of celiac disease as well as slowing the recovery of the mucosa after celiac disease is diagnosed and treated. Reduced sun exposure due to modern changing life styles might account for an increasing incidence celiac disease and other autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D deficiency at the time gluten is introduced into an infant's diet could also play a role in celiac disease onset. A previous study performed in Sweden found babies born in summer more susceptible to celiac disease than babies born in winter. If gluten is first introduced to babies some 6 months after birth, seasonal variation of vitamin D levels might account for the difference, i.e. summer-born babies would receive their first gluten in midwinter when sun exposure is minimal. Since breastfed babies obtain vitamin D from mother's milk, nursing mothers need to be sure to maintain high vitamin D levels during winter months.
A study just released by the National Cancer Institute examined the relationship between serum 25(OH)D levels and total cancer mortality in 16818 participants and concluded "results do not support an association between 25(OH)D and total cancer mortality." However, the study did find "colorectal cancer mortality was inversely related to serum 25(OH)D level, with levels 80 nmol/L or higher associated with a 72% risk reduction compared with lower than 50 nmol/L." The fact that vitamin D appears to lower colon cancer mortality risk is consistant with the preservation role vitamin D appears to play in maintaining the intestinal mucosal barrier. Note that this study does not consider whether receiving daily doses of vitamin D supplements much higher than current recommendations would provide a cancer risk benefit.
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