Vitamin D may protect against Crohn's disease, according to Canadian researchers.
They found that vitamin D acts on two genes -- defensin 2 and NOD2 -- that have been linked to Crohn's disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the intestines, United Press International reported.
"Our data suggests, for the first time, that vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease," study leader Dr. John White, of McGill University in Montreal, said in a news release.
He suggested that siblings of patients with Crohn's disease who haven't yet developed the condition should make sure they consume adequate amounts of vitamin D, UPI reported.
"It's something that's easy to do, because they can simply go to a pharmacy and buy vitamin D supplements," White said.
The study appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.