Purpose of review: The purpose of this review is to examine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in pediatric gastrointestinal disease, specifically celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); to discuss the role of vitamin D and its deficiency in gastrointestinal disease pathophysiology; and to present current literature regarding diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in these pediatric gastrointestinal diseases.
Recent findings: Vitamin D deficiency is common in children with gastrointestinal symptoms and disease processes. In celiac disease, vitamin D status should be routinely assessed at the time of diagnosis and during subsequent follow up if deficient. There is growing evidence to suggest an inverse association between vitamin D and IBD activity; however, the therapeutic role of vitamin D in IBD patients requires further investigation.
Summary: Suboptimal vitamin D status commonly occurs in children with gastrointestinal disease. It is advisable to check serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels in children with newly diagnosed celiac disease and IBD. In celiac disease, vitamin D status should be assessed during subsequent follow up if deficient. In IBD, 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels should be checked at least yearly. Therapy should be provided to maintain a level of greater than 30 ng/ml but less than 100 ng/ml; however, the ideal vitamin D dosing regimen to treat vitamin D deficiency and to maintain this optimum level remains unknown. The role of vitamin D as a therapeutic agent in IBD is still under investigation.