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Low Serum Vitamin D Levels Linked to Ulcerative Colitis


Serum vitamin D levels are significantly lower and the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is significantly higher in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) compared with controls, although a causal relationship cannot be demonstrated.


  • The authors conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the associations between vitamin D, as assessed by serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, and UC.

  • The analysis included 16 observational case-control studies, involving 987 patients with UC and 1247 controls.

  • Subgroup analyses of potential influencing factors included study publication year, region, serum vitamin D test method, and inclusion of patients in remission.


  • Serum vitamin D levels were significantly lower in patients with UC than in controls (standard mean difference, -0.83).

  • Vitamin D deficiency was reported in five of the 16 studies, and the prevalence was significantly higher in the UC group than the control group (odds ratio, 1.9).

  • When subgroup analysis was conducted according to different serum vitamin D test methods, it yielded different results, suggesting that different detection methods may have had an impact on the study findings.


“[T]here was a clear correlation between reduced vitamin D levels and UC. However, the causal relationship between vitamin D deficiency and UC is still unclear, and the clinical application of vitamin D supplements also faces many problems; these challenges need to be addressed by a large number of high-quality, multilevel and prospective studies in the future,” the researchers write.


Yan Wang, PhD, Department of Gastroenterology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China, was senior author of the study, which was published online in European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology on October 18.


The study authors report no limitations.


The study did not receive external funding. No conflicts of interest were declared.

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  • Posted on November 19, 2023