Vitamin D deficiency is common in celiac disease -- even in those following a gluten-free diet -- and is linked to an increased risk for the nasty skin condition psoriasis, a study from Columbia University finds.
Some medical research has linked lower levels of vitamin D to a higher risk for a variety of autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, lupus and type 1 diabetes, but it's not clear why this link exists. This study, published last month in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, was trying to tease out whether people with celiac disease and low vitamin D levels are at higher risk for additional autoimmune conditions.
The researchers looked at 530 adults with celiac disease, and found 25% of them suffered from vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency was more common in those who had anemia, the study found.
About 7% of those with both celiac and vitamin D deficiency also had psoriasis, while psoriasis only occurred in 3% of those with celiac but normal vitamin D levels. However, having both celiac and vitamin D deficiency wasn't associated with a higher likelihood of having other autoimmune diseases.
Read more about psoriasis here: Can Gluten Cause Psoriasis?
People with celiac disease often have lower vitamin D levels -- other studies have found much higher numbers of vitamin D-deficient celiacs than the one-quarter identified in the Columbia University study. See more on this here: Celiac Disease and Vitamin D Deficiency
Should you supplement vitamin D? Perhaps, but you should get your levels checked first. All this is making me realize how anxious I am for spring to come around here, so that I can make vitamin D naturally, just by taking a walk!
Photo © Getty Images/James French