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Originally published November 17 2008

Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Bone Disease

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Deficiency of vitamin D has once again been linked with bone disease, in a study on patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) conducted by researchers from the University of Manitoba, Canada.

Osteoporosis is a well-known potential side effect of IBD, and vitamin D has previously been established as of risk factor for osteoporosis. The vitamin plays a crucial role in calcium absorption, which is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.

Researchers measured the vitamin D blood levels and bone mineral density of 101 people who had recently been diagnosed with IBD. They found that 22 percent of participants had optimal levels of vitamin D, 35 percent had marginal levels, 38 percent had insufficient levels and 6 percent were vitamin deficient.

There was a direct correlation between blood vitamin D levels and bone density: Those with the most vitamin D had the strongest bones. After two years, those with higher vitamin D levels were more likely to have had increases in bone mineral density.

"Early optimization of vitamin D may help to prevent bone disease in IBD," researcher William D. Leslie said.

The researchers next plan "to see whether poor vitamin D status or the degree of activity in a patient's inflammatory bowel disease lead to progressive loss in bone density."

IBD refers to any disease in which the large or small intestines becomes inflamed, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease. Symptoms of these diseases include abdominal pain and cramping, bloody stool, diarrhea, loss of weight and appetite, and ulcers of the bowel lining. Approximately 67 out of every 100,000 people in the United States develop Crohn's disease, and 10 to 12 of every 100,000 develops ulcerative colitis.

The diseases tend to affect those in their teens and 20s, or those in their 50s up to their 70s, but rarely people of other ages. Women are more likely to be affected than men.

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