Does Vitamin D Production Play a Role in Fat Malabsorption?

September 24, 2010

Boston University researchers are recruiting Chron's and gastric bypass patients on which to test a fluorescent lamp capable of producing vitamin D in the skin.

Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers have been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) phase 1 award to develop and test a newly designed fluorescent lamp that is capable of producing vitamin D in the skin.

Dr. Michael Holick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at BUSM and director of the General Clinical Research Unit, the Bone Health Clinic, and the Heliotherapy Light and Skin Research Center, is the principal investigator of the study. Dr. Francis Farraye, a professor of medicine at BUSM and Clinical Director in the Gastroenterology Section at Boston Medical Center, is the co-investigator.

Holick believes that exposure to this newly designed indoor portable fluorescent ultraviolet irradiation device will be a cost effective way to satisfy the vitamin D requirement for patients with fat malabsorption syndromes. The researchers have partnered with KBD Inc. on this project.

According to the Holick and Farraye, they will immediately begin recruiting patients with fat malabsorption syndromes including patients with Crohn's disease and bypass surgery to participate in the study. Study participants will receive a fluorescent light device and be taught how to use it. After the training they will take the lamp home and expose their abdomen, legs or back to the vitamin D producing lamp three times a week.

After three months, the researchers will measure their blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to determine the effectiveness of the lamp in producing vitamin D in the skin. Initial results should be available in the spring of 2011.

Source: Boston University Medical Center