Vitamin D, immune regulation, the microbiota, and inflammatory bowel disease

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2014 Nov;239(11):1524-30. doi: 10.1177/1535370214523890. Epub 2014 Mar 25.


The inflammatory bowel diseases are complex diseases caused by environmental, immunological, and genetic factors. Vitamin D status is low in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, and experimental inflammatory bowel diseases are more severe in vitamin D-deficient or vitamin D receptor knockout animals. Vitamin D is beneficial in inflammatory bowel diseases because it regulates multiple checkpoints and processes essential for homeostasis in the gut. Vitamin D inhibits IFN-γ and IL-17 production while inducing regulatory T cells. In addition, vitamin D regulates epithelial cell integrity, innate immune responses, and the composition of the gut microbiota. Overall, vitamin D regulates multiple pathways that maintain gastrointestinal homeostasis. The data support improving vitamin D status in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases.

Keywords: Vitamin D; inflammatory bowel disease; microbiota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / immunology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / pathology
  • Microbiota / drug effects
  • Microbiota / immunology*
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*


  • Vitamin D