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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
GERMANY: Vitamin D Deficiency May Help Spread of Hepatitis B Throughout Liver
Staff Writer
June 7, 2013
Medical Xpress (06.06.2013) Aids Weekly Plus

Researchers in Germany have concluded that low levels of vitamin D are associated with high levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the blood. Between January 2009 and December 2010, Dr. Christian Lange of Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Hospital in Frankfurt, Germany, and colleagues recruited 203 patients with chronic HBV who had never been treated for the disease. The researchers excluded patients with HIV, hepatitis C, or hepatitis D coinfection, excessive alcohol use, liver cancer, or other malignancies. The researchers measured levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in each patient. Results indicated that 34 percent had severe vitamin D deficiency, 47 percent had vitamin D insufficiency, and 19 percent had normal levels of vitamin D. Researchers discovered that the concentration of HBV in the blood (viral load) corresponded to vitamin levels; a high concentration of HBV was a strong indicator of low vitamin D levels. Researchers also determined that patients with hepatitis B antigen had lower vitamin D levels than patients who tested negative for the antigen. Inverse seasonal fluctuations in vitamin D and HBV levels suggested a link between the two. Lange concluded that the data confirm an association between low vitamin D levels and high HBV concentration in the blood. The researchers suggested further study of vitamin D as a therapeutic intervention for controlling HBV. The full report, “Low Vitamin D Serum Concentration is Associated with High Levels of Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Replication in Chronically Infected Patients,” was published online in the journal Hepatology (2013; doi: 10, 1002/hep.26488).