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.