Evidence gained from recent studies has generated increasing interest in the role of vitamin D in extraskeletal functions such as inflammation and immunoregulation. Although vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), evidence as to whether vitamin D supplementation may cure or prevent chronic disease is inconsistent. Since 25OH-vitamin D (25OHD) has been suggested to be an acute-phase protein, its utility as a vitamin D status marker is therefore questionable. In this study, possible interactions of vitamin D and inflammation were studied in 188 patients with IBD, with high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels >= 5 mg/dL and/or fecal calprotectin >= 250 mu g/g defined as biochemical evidence of inflammatory activity. Levels of 25OHD and vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) were determined by ELISA, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25OHD) and dihydroxycholecalciferol (24,25OHD) by LC-MS/MS. Free and bioavailable vitamin D levels were calculated with the validated formula of Bikle. Serum 1,25OH2D and vitamin D binding protein (VDBP) levels were shown to differ between the inflammatory and noninflammatory groups: patients with inflammatory disease activity had significantly higher serum concentrations of 1,25OH2D (35.0 (16.4-67.3) vs. 18.5 (1.2-51.0) pg/mL, p < 0.001) and VDBP (351.2 (252.2-530.6) vs. 330.8 (183.5-560.3) mg/dL, p < 0.05) than patients without active inflammation. Serum 24,25OH2D levels were negatively correlated with erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (-0.155, p = 0.049) while concentrations of serum 1,25OH2D correlated positively with hsCRP (0.157, p = 0.036). Correlations with serum VDBP levels were found for ESR (0.150, p = 0.049), transferrin (0.160, p = 0.037) and hsCRP (0.261, p < 0.001). Levels of serum free and bioavailable 25OHD showed a negative correlation with ESR (-0.165, p = 0.031, -0.205, p < 0.001, respectively) and hsCRP (-0.164, p = 0.032, -0.208, p < 0.001 respectively), and a moderate negative correlation with fecal calprotectin (-0.377, p = 0.028, -0.409, p < 0.016, respectively). Serum total 25OHD concentration was the only vitamin D parameter found to have no specific correlation with any of the inflammatory markers. According to these results, the traditional parameter, total 25OHD, still appears to be the best marker of vitamin D status in patients with inflammatory bowel disease regardless of the presence of inflammation.