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Pubmed-Vitamin D Deficiency (VDD) and Benefits of Supplementation in Veterans with IBS-D

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Diagnostics (Basel). 2023 Aug 30;13(17):2807. doi: 10.3390/diagnostics13172807.


Many veterans deployed to Gulf War areas suffer from persistent chronic diarrhea that is disabling and affects their quality of life. The causes for this condition have eluded investigators until recently and recent literature has shed light on the effect of vitamin D on the brain-gut axis. This study focused on determining clinical causes contributing to diarrhea and assessed whether reversing the identified causes, specifically vitamin D deficiency (VDD), could reduce the incidence of diarrhea in Gulf War veterans (GWVs). All patients completed a workup that included serologies (IBD, celiac), routine laboratory tests (CBC, chemistry panels, TSH, T4, CRP), cultures for enteric pathogens (C diff, bacteria, viruses, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)), and upper and lower endoscopies with histology and a trial of cholestyramine to exclude choleretic diarrhea and rifaximin for dysbiosis. A total of 4221 veterans were screened for chronic diarrhea, yielding 105 GWVs, of which 69 GWVs had irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D). Paired t-tests demonstrated that all GWVs had VDD (t-11.62, df68 and sig(2-tailed) 0.0001) (defined as a vitamin D level less than 30 ng/mL with normal ranges of 30-100 ng/mL) but no positive serologies, inflammatory markers, abnormal endoscopies, cultures, or histology to explain their persistent diarrhea. There was no correlation with age, BMI, or inflammation. Some zip codes had a higher frequency of GWVs with VDD, but the number of deployments had no impact. Treatment with vitamin D supplementation (3000-5000 units), given in the morning, based on weight, reduced the number of bowel movements per day (p < 0.0001) without causing hypercalcemia. We suggest that VDD is important in the etiology of IBS-D in GWVs and that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces diarrhea.

PMID:37685345 | DOI:10.3390/diagnostics13172807

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