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Dynamics of vitamin D in patients with mild or inactive inflammatory bowel disease and their families

Avigyle Grunbaum1, Christina Holcroft2, Debra Heilpern1, Stephanie Gladman3, Barry Burstein4, Maryse Menard3, Jasim Al-Abbad6, Jamie Cassoff1, Elizabeth MacNamara5, Philip H Gordon6 and Andrew Szilagyi3*

Author Affiliations

1 McGill University School of Medicine, Montreal, Canada

2 Epidemiology, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada

3 Gastroenterology, Jewish General Hospital, 3755 Cote Ste Catherine Rd, Room E177, Montreal, QC, Canada

4 Department of Medicine, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada

5 Clinical Chemistry, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada

6 Colorectal Surgery, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, QC, Canada

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Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:145  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-145

Published: 9 November 2013



25(OH) vitamin D levels may be low in patients with moderately or severely active inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD: Crohn’s disease and Idiopathic Ulcerative Colitis) but this is less clear in patients with mild or inactive IBD. Furthermore there is limited information of any family influence on 25(OH) vitamin D levels in IBD. As a possible risk factor we hypothesize that vitamin D levels may also be low in families of IBD patients.


To evaluate 25[OH] vitamin D levels in patients with IBD in remission or with mild activity. A second objective is to evaluate whether there are relationships within IBD family units of 25[OH] vitamin D and what are the influences associated with these levels.


Participants underwent medical history, physical examination and a 114 item diet questionnaire. Serum 25[OH] vitamin D was measured, using a radioimmunoassay kit, (replete ≥ 75, insufficient 50–74, deficient < 25–50, or severely deficient < 25 nmol/L). Associations between 25[OH] vitamin D and twenty variables were evaluated using univariate regression. Multivariable analysis was also applied and intrafamilial dynamics were assessed.


55 patients and 48 controls with their respective families participated (N206). 25[OH] vitamin D levels between patients and controls were similar (71.2 ± 32.8 vs. 68.3 ±26.2 nmol/L). Vitamin D supplements significantly increased intake but correlation with serum 25[OH] vitamin D was significant only during non sunny months among patients. Within family units, patients’ families had mean replete levels (82.3 ± 34.2 nmol/L) and a modest correlation emerged during sunny months between patients and family (r2 =0.209 p = 0.032). These relationships were less robust and non significant in controls and their families.


In patients with mild or inactive IBD 25[OH] vitamin D levels are less than ideal but are similar to controls. Taken together collectively, the results of this study suggest that patient family dynamics may be different in IBD units from that in control family units. However contrary to the hypothesis, intra familial vitamin D dynamics do not pose additional risks for development of IBD.

Vitamin D; Kinetics; Inflammatory bowel disease; Families