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Vitamin D Can Potentially Fight Periodontitis

Update Date: Nov 19, 2012 07:56 AM EST

A new study by researchers from the University in Chengdu, China, claims that vitamin D, commonly known to protect against inflammatory diseases, may also be helpful in fighting periodontitis in people with diabetes mellitus.

The study, published in Steroids, reports that H. Li of West China Hospital of Stomatology Sichuan University in Chengdu and colleagues concluded in their research that vitamin D supplement improved the condition of experimental periodontitis in diabetic mice.

According to the U.S. Public Health Med website, "periodontitis is inflammation and infection of the ligaments and bones that support the teeth."

It occurs when inflammation or infection of the gums is untreated or treatment is delayed, and is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. This disorder is uncommon in childhood but increases during adolescence, the website further says.

According to a report in, periodontitis is a complication of diabetes mellitus. Vitamin D is also known to have an effect on diabetes mellitus, but then, not much is known of the effects of the vitamin on periodontitis.

In the current study, diabetic mice that were given vitamin D or 25(OH)D3 reduced fasting glucose and serum TNF-α levels and alveolar bone loss.

"TNF-α refers to tumor necrosis factor-alpha which is a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation and is a member of a group of cytokines that trigger the acute phase reaction."

"Also vitamin d treatment upregulated vitamin D receptor and protein tyrosine phosphatase N2 and attenuated expression of NF-κB and phosphorylation of Janus family kinase 1.  These observations indicated the anti-inflammatory activity of vitamin D," the report said.

"These data may provide an explanation for the therapeutic benefits and anti-inflammatory effects of 25(OH)D(3). Our findings should have important implications for clinical therapy of diabetic periodontitis," the researchers concluded.

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