A research team from the University of Frankfurt in Germany carried out a study to assess whether vitamin D levels affect disease course in patients with liver disease. 2

Vitamin D levels affects patient outcomes in liver disease2

The researchers measured vitamin D levels in 338 patients with advanced liver disease. The doctors found optimal vitamin D levels in only 132 of the patients in the study. In 134 patients, the levels were sub-optimal, and in 72 they were significantly low. 2

The researchers also assessed the level of various proteins in the blood of patients in the study group. They measured interleukin-6 and CD14, proteins that regulate inflammation in the body,2 and found that in patients with a low vitamin D level, the levels of these inflammatory proteins were higher. When these patients were given vitamin D supplementation, the level of the inflammatory protein CD14 decreased, demonstrating a possible link between vitamin D levels and inflammatory proteins. 2

The study also demonstrated that patients with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have developed liver decompensation, 2 a stage of liver disease where the liver cannot perform its usual functions, leading to severe complications. 3

Taking Vitamin D

The researchers at Frankfurt University determined from their study that patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis often suffer from vitamin D deficiency.2 They also demonstrated a potential link between severe vitamin D deficiency, severe inflammation, and the risk of worse outcomes in patients with advanced liver disease.

Further studies may be useful to demonstrate how correcting vitamin D levels in patients with chronic liver disease could improve their outcomes.2

Speak to your healthcare team before starting any vitamin supplements

Before purchasing things like multivitamins, remember that they can often contain vitamin A and iron, which can cause the liver more problems. Make sure you speak to your doctor or your dietician before starting any supplements.4

Find out more about food in liver cirrhosis:

Älterer Mann im Sonnenlicht


  1. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin D Fact Sheet For Health Professionals. Available at https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#h7
  2. Kubesch A et al, PLoS 2018; 13(11):e0207162
  3. Mansour D et al., Clinical Medicine. 2018; 18(2); s60-s65
  4. Daniel, C. Verywell health. What to Eat When You Have Cirrhosis. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-the-best-diet-for-cirrhosis-1760062 (last accessed: September 2020)

May 2021. GL-HEP-XIF-2000180