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News and Research: Vitamin D for C. Diff

Study: Supplementation Impacts the Gut Microbiota of Patients With Clostridioides Difficile Infection

Overview: Recent studies indicate that Clostridioides difficile infections are more likely in people with low vitamin D levels. Current options for C. difficile include oral vancomycin, metronidazole, and fecal microbial transplantation. But these treatments don’t work for everyone.

In this small randomized controlled trial, half of the C. diff patients continued with vancomycin, and the other half received injections of 200,000IU vitamin D plus the vancomycin.

The results showed positive changes to the gut microbiome in those receiving the vitamin D shots. “Our study confirmed that the increase in the abundance of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacteriaceae, and Christensenellaceae were prominently evident during recovery after administration of a high dose of cholecalciferol. These findings indicate that vitamin D administration may be useful in patients with CDI, and further studies with larger sample sizes are required.”

My take: Vitamin D is a complex hormone that affects many different aspects of health and inflammation via activating vitamin D receptors (VDR). The activation of VDR can initiate the transcription of many different genes, explaining the pleiotropic effect of this ‘vitamin’.

This study shows an important aspect of vitamin D — positive changes in the composition of the gut microbiome. It may mean that vitamin D supplementation affects overall health not only via circulating vitamin D levels but also through changes to the gut microbiome.

Related articles: Vitamin D Genes and Vitamin D in Immune Response

About the Author:
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. Fascinated by the connections between genes, diet, and health, her goal is to help you understand how to apply genetics to your diet and lifestyle decisions. Debbie has a BS in engineering from Colorado School of Mines and an MSc in biological sciences from Clemson University. Debbie combines an engineering mindset with a biological systems approach to help you understand how genetic differences impact your optimal health.