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A recent study has found that vitamin D supplementation may help prevent symptoms related to Crohn's disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease that causes abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss.
John White, an endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center, and his colleagues were actually investigating vitamin D's ability to mitigate cancer, but their research continued to reveal the nutrient's positive effects on the innate immune system.
The researchers discovered that vitamin D supplementation initiates a response from the beta defensin 2 gene and the NOD2 gene, which are both directly linked to Crohn's disease.
NO2D alerts cells to the presence of invading microbes, and if the gene is deficient, it cannot fight microbial bacteria in the intestinal tract.
"This discovery is exciting, since it shows how an over-the-counter supplement such as vitamin D could help people defend themselves against Crohn's," said study collaborator Marc Servant.
White adds that people related to patients suffering from the inflammatory bowel disease may want to make sure that they have sufficient levels of the nutrient.
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