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Vitamin D deficiency tied to inflammatory bowel diseases

Category: Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment

Individuals with chronic diseases like ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel conditions may want to consider seeking a vitamin D test, as a new study has found that the nutrient plays a key role in the regulation of many digestive bacteria that can cause inflammatory diseases.

There are millions of bacteria in each person's digestive tract. Most of these microbes actually aid in the digestion of foods like fruits and vegetables. However, imbalances of what is referred to as "gut flora" can occasionally cause illnesses.

Researchers from the University of Rochester discovered that most digestive bacteria have receptors for vitamin D, meaning that the nutrient is able to control them and keep their functions in check.

Jun Sun, who led the study, said that understanding the link between vitamin D and diseases of the digestive system may lead to more effective treatments of conditions like ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and other illnesses.

"Vitamin D deficiency is a known factor in the pathology of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer," Sun said. "But there have been very few reports about how bacteria might play a role by targeting the vitamin D receptor."

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