Vitamin D deficiency is often in the news especially last year in relation to COVID 19, but do you know much about it?
And if you don’t, would you like to know more? Especially as having good levels of this fat-soluble vitamin can be so beneficial to your immune health, gut health and may even play a positive role in weight management. Read on….
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin.
It is famous for its role in helping the body absorb the calcium needed for strong bones.
Vitamin D also plays a role in building our immune function (very important at present!), and for managing your weight!
But did you also know that there is some evidence showing that Vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for people with IBS?
Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial
The aim of the 2019 study was to evaluate the effects of Vitamin D supplementation on symptoms and quality of life in patients with IBS.
It was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. 116 patients with IBS were supplemented weekly with either a pearl of 50,000 IU Vitamin D or an identical pearl of placebo for 6 weeks.
Dietary intakes were similar between and within groups. Vitamin D levels increased significantly in the Vitamin D group, whereas the level hardly changed in the placebo group.
The IBS symptoms severity scores, disease-specific quality of life and total score were evaluated at weeks 0 and 6.
The total score were improved significantly more in Vitamin D group in comparison to the placebo group.
This study indicates that Vitamin D therapy can improve the severity of symptoms and quality of life in patients with IBS. However, the long-term effects remained to be revealed.
Link to study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390425/
Vitamin D and your immune system
A number of studies have found that having good levels of vitamin D in the body can have an immune boosting effect. This has been associated with generally widespread low levels of vitamin D and for many of us it is difficult to maintain adequate levels just from sunlight.
Here’s a great flashcard about vitamin D sources and daily recommendations provided by the Linus Pauling Institute https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sites/lpi.oregonstate.edu/files/vitamin-d-flashcard.pdf
In the UK Vitamin D levels are easy to test either via your GP or with a home test bloodspot kit. http://www.vitamindtest.org.uk/
Note: it comes up as website not secure – When you go into ordering the test it takes you to a secure payment site and you can pay via PayPal. (I have no affiliation with them) The providers are Sandwell NHS hospital lab. The bloodspot test costs £29 (as at July 2021). I’ve used this service numerous times for myself and recommend it to my clients. Whilst working for Cytoplan, I organised vitamin D test kits for the company and tested all the employees. Interestingly, the only employees who had a low reading were those not taking any form of supplementation.
In addition, magnesium is another nutrient to be considered. Vitamin D cannot be metabolised without sufficient magnesium levels.
Magnesium status is low in populations who consume processed foods that are high in refined grains, fat and sugar. In addition, high consumption of coffee, fizzy drinks, salt, alcohol, stress and vigorous exercise can also lower magnesium levels.
Epsom salt baths are a great way of increasing your magnesium status as well as eating green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Vitamin D and obesity
Vitamin D deficiency has become so common mainly because we have been told to avoid the sunlight and cover ourselves with the chemicals found in most sunscreens. Chemicals that inhibit 99.5% of the production of vitamin D by the skin.
And guess what? Obesity can cause Vitamin D deficiency, according to a study published in an issue of PLoS Medicine (February 2013). PLOS Medicine is a peer-reviewed weekly medical journal covering the full spectrum of the medical sciences.
Over 42,000 people from 21 countries participated in the study. The researchers tried to identify any genetic variations that could be involved with BMI and Vitamin D to ensure that there were no other factors that could influence the results.
The author concluded that:
“We demonstrated that the association between BMI and lower (Vitamin D) concentrations in Caucasian populations from North America and Europe can be seen across different age groups and in both men and women. We also show that higher BMI leads to lower Vitamin D status, providing evidence for the role of obesity as a risk factor for the development of Vitamin D deficiency.”
Next week I’ll tell you why I took a vitamin D test 10 years ago and how it’s made a difference to my health!
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