Vitamin D status in gastrointestinal and liver disease

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2008 Mar;24(2):176-83. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e3282f4d2f3.


Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to report on the vitamin D status and its relationship with bone health in individuals with gastrointestinal and liver disorders. In addition, recommendations regarding replacement and maintenance of optimal vitamin D stores, as well as the state of knowledge regarding its effect on the disease through its actions on the immune system, will be reviewed.

Recent findings: The scientific community has revised upward the serum levels of vitamin D considered optimal, and doses of vitamin D much larger than those currently recommended may be needed to maintain these levels, especially in individuals with gastrointestinal and liver disorders. The relationship between vitamin D and bone health in this population is controversial. The role of vitamin D in the regulation of the immune system continues to be elucidated.

Summary: Hypovitaminosis D is prevalent among individuals with gastrointestinal and liver disease. Although replacement and supplementation guidelines have not been well defined, practitioners should aim for a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of at least 32 ng/ml. The contribution of vitamin D to the bone health of these individuals and its role in altering disease course through its actions on the immune system remain to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Diseases / etiology
  • Bone Diseases / prevention & control
  • Digestive System Diseases / complications*
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / complications
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects
  • Immune System Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / complications
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / physiology*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / etiology


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D