New research from Germany shows a correlation between vitamin d deficiencies and levels of hepatitis b virus replication, specifically seasonal deficiencies and chronic hepatitis b.
The study, which is published in Hepatology, was conducted with 203 chronic hepatitis b patients without HCV, HIV, hepatitis d, alcoholism and liver cancer who had not yet received treatment for the hepatitis b infection. Only 19 percent of the subjects had normal levels of vitamin d - 47 percent were vitamin d insufficient, and 34 percent had a severe vitamin d deficiency.
Researchers found that the level of viral load in the blood was a strong indicator of a vitamin d deficiency. Subjects with hepatitis b DNA less than 2,000 international units per milliliter tended to have a vitamin d level of 17 nanograms per milliliter. Conversely, patients with hepatitis b DNA more than 2,000 international units per milliliter, the vitamin d levels were 11 nanograms per milliliter.
"Our data confirm an association between low levels of vitamin d and high concentrations of HBV in the blood," said Christian Lange, M.D., lead investigator of the study. "These findings differ from previous research of patients with chronic hepatitis c, which found no connection between vitamin d levels and concentration of HCV in the blood."
Lange goes on to emphasize the importance of of vitamin D for maintaining a healthy immune system and tempering inflammatory and metabolic liver disease.
The authors conclude that more research is necessary to determine the potential of using vitamin d as a means of controlling the hepatitis b virus.
Vitamin d and HBV
Vitamin d is a fat soluble vitamin that can help individuals with fat malabsorption - a condition that can lead to serious problems with the liver, according to the National Institutes of Health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define hepatitis b as a liver disease caused by the hepatitis b virus.
Given the relationship between vitamin d and the liver, it is unsurprising that a correlation be made between vitamin d deficiencies and the prevalence of the hepatitis b virus.
Hepatitis b is spread through blood, semen and other body fluids. The CDC notes that the best way to prevent contracting hepatitis b is by getting a vaccine. There is currently no cure for acute or chronic hepatitis b.