Pediatric Patients With Irritable Bowel Syndrome Have Vitamin D Deficiency – AJMC.com Managed Markets Network
A vitamin D deficit may be linked with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in children. According to a new study published in PLOS ONE, more than 90% of pediatric patients with IBS were deficient in vitamin D.
Researchers analyzed medical records of patients between the ages of 6 and 21 years with a diagnosis of IBS and compared them with healthy children in a control group. None of the controls had IBS, irritable bowel disease, or celiac disease; nor were they receiving vitamin D supplementation or steroid therapy. Vitamin D deficiency was found to be more prevalent among children with IBS compared with those who had irritable bowel disease.
“I was surprised that IBS had the highest prevalence of vitamin D deficiency of all the gastrointestinal disorders we studied in the past 5 years,” study author Benjamin U. Nwosu, MD, said in a statement. “The primary finding from this study is that 1 out of every 2 pediatric patients with IBS has vitamin D deficiency compared to 1 out of every 4 healthy children and adolescents without IBS. The importance of this study was to initiate the first steps in the critical assessment of the role of vitamin D as an adjunctive therapy in children and adolescents with IBS.”
The researchers also investigated the relationship between vitamin D and anxiety, depression, and migraine headaches, all of which are symptoms that accompany IBS. According to the analysis, children with IBS and migraine had significantly lower vitamin D levels compared with the control patients.
The study’s findings suggest that it may be worthwhile to consider vitamin D as an adjunctive therapy in pediatric patients with IBS, but more studies are needed, the authors wrote.
“With more than 90% of children with IBS being vitamin D deficient, they are definitely at risk for decreased bone mass,” Nwosu said. “Clinicians should immediately increase their surveillance for vitamin D deficiency in patients with IBS and initiate appropriate vitamin D supplementation in cases of deficiency. Future research studies will explore the effect of vitamin D deficiency on bone mass and other associated pathologies in IBS. This paper strengthens the case for a vitamin D screening and supplementation protocol for all patients with IBS.”