Active Crohn's disease is associated with low vitamin D levels

J Crohns Colitis. 2013 Nov;7(10):e407-13. doi: 10.1016/j.crohns.2013.01.012. Epub 2013 Feb 9.


Background and aims: Crohn's disease prevalence increases with increasing latitude. Because most vitamin D comes from sunlight exposure and murine models of intestinal inflammation have demonstrated beneficial effects of 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D treatment, we hypothesised that Crohn's disease activity is associated with low vitamin D levels.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study of 182 CD patients and 62 healthy controls, we measured serum 25-OH vitamin D. Stratified analysis was used to compare 25-OH vitamin D levels with Crohn's disease activity index, C-reactive protein, smoking status, intake of oral vitamin D supplements and seasonal variation in CD patients and healthy controls.

Results: Serum 25-OH vitamin D was inversely associated with disease activity: Median 25-OH vitamin D levels of Crohn's disease in remission, mildly, and moderately active diseases evaluated by Crohn's disease activity index were 64, 49, and 21 nmol/l (p<0.01) and by CRP 68, 76, and 35 nmol/l (p<0.05), respectively. Patients who took oral vitamin D supplementation had lower Crohn's disease activity index (p<0.05) and C-reactive protein (p=0.07) than non-users. Crohn's disease patients who smoked had lower vitamin D levels (51 nmol/l) than patients who did not smoke (76 nmol/l), p<0.01. Overall, Crohn's disease patients did not differ from healthy controls regarding 25-OH vitamin D levels.

Conclusions: Active Crohn's disease was associated with low serum 25-OH vitamin D. Patients who smoked had lower 25-OH vitamin D levels than patients who did not smoke, independently of disease activity.

Keywords: (TGF)-β; 1,25(OH)(2)D; 1,25-(OH)(2) vitamin D; 25-OH vitamin D; 25OHD; C-reactive protein; CD; CDAI; CRP; Crohn's disease; Crohn's disease activity index; INF-γ; Smoking; TNF-α; VDR; Vitamin D; interferon gamma; transforming growth factor; tumour necrosis factor alpha; vitamin D receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Crohn Disease / blood*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seasons
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Smoking / blood
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D