OBJECTIVES. Previous studies of vitamin D status in pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease have revealed conflicting results. We sought to report (1) the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D concentration ≤15 ng/mL) in a large population with inflammatory bowel disease, (2) factors predisposing to this problem, and (3) its relationship to bone health and serum parathyroid hormone concentration.
PATIENTS AND METHODS. A total of 130 patients (8–22 years of age) with inflammatory bowel disease, 94 with Crohn disease and 36 with ulcerative colitis, had serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, intact parathyroid hormone, and lumbar spine bone mineral density (using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) measured at Children’s Hospital Boston.
RESULTS. The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was 34.6%. Mean serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D concentration was similar in patients with Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, 52.6% lower among patients with dark skin complexion, 33.4% lower during the winter months (December 22 to March 21), and 31.5% higher among patients who were taking vitamin D supplements. Serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin D concentration was positively correlated with weight and BMI z score, disease duration, and serum albumin concentration and negatively correlated with erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Patients with Crohn disease and upper gastrointestinal tract involvement were more likely to be vitamin D deficient than those without it. Serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin concentration was not associated with lumbar spine bone mineral density z score or serum parathyroid hormone concentration.
CONCLUSIONS. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent among pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Factors predisposing to the problem include having a dark-skin complexion, winter season, lack of vitamin D supplementation, early stage of disease, more severe disease, and upper gastrointestinal tract involvement in patients with Crohn disease. The long-term significance of hypovitaminosis D for this population is unknown at present and merits additional study.