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Individuals who experience a form of inflammatory bowel disease may benefit from seeking vitamin D testing. Two new studies show that low levels of the nutrient are linked to higher rates of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
The pair of investigations were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology. The results could lead to better treatments for two conditions that have traditionally been resistant to most therapies.
In the first study, a team of investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital showed that rates of ulcerative colitis are higher in parts of the U.S. that are at higher latitudes. These areas generally receive less sunshine, which impairs individual's ability to produce the nutrient naturally.
The second investigation showed that individuals with Crohn's disease have better treatment outcomes when they take nutritional supplements containing high doses of vitamin D.
Both sets of researchers said that a person's vitamin D levels appear to play an important role in the degree to which they are affected by inflammatory bowel diseases. While more investigation may be needed to confirm this, they think nutritional supplements may be a viable treatment option for the conditions.
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