Vitamin D deficiency and vitamin D therapy in chronic hepatitis C

Ann Hepatol. Mar-Apr 2013;12(2):199-204.


Background: Vitamin D has immunomodulatory properties, exerts an anti-hepatitis C virus (HCV) effect in vitro and improves response to interferon-based therapy in patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC). Low serum levels of 25(OH) vitamin D [25(OH)D] are frequently found in CHC patients and seem to be related to more advanced stages of liver fibrosis. The study aims to establish the incidence of vitamin D deficiency in Spanish patients with CHC, its possible relation with features of liver damage and with the IL28B gene polymorphism, and the immediate effect of vitamin D therapy on CHC-related analytical variables.

Materials and methods: Baseline serum 25(OH)D levels were measured in 108 consecutive CHC patients (60 men, age 54.3 ± 10.5 yrs). Results of transient elastography and of IL28B rs12979860C/T genotype were available in 89 and 95 patients, respectively. Forty one patients with insufficient levels of 25(OH)D received vitamin D supplements and were re-evaluated thereafter.

Results: Deficiency of vitamin D (< 20 μg/dL) and suboptimal levels (20-30 μg/mL) were detected in 36.1% and 40.9% of patients, respectively. No relationships were found between 25(OH)D levels and biochemical liver tests, fibrosis stage and IL28B genotype. Vitamin D therapy normalized 25(OH)D levels in all treated patients, but did not modify significantly HCV-RNA serum levels or biochemical tests.

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency is common in Spanish patients with CHC but it is related neither to biochemical and virological variables nor with the fibrosis stage and IL28B polymorphism. Vitamin D therapy has no immediate effect on HCV-RNA serum levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques
  • Female
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / blood
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / genetics
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / immunology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interferons
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Liver Cirrhosis / diagnosis
  • Liver Cirrhosis / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / drug therapy*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / genetics
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / immunology
  • Vitamins / therapeutic use*


  • Biomarkers
  • IFNL3 protein, human
  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Viral
  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Interferons
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D