Gut problems are a simple sign of vitamin D deficiency.
This can include bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain and cramps.
Vitamin D helps keep the immune system and the gut healthy.
In fact, 82% of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are deficient in vitamin D, research finds.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Dr Bernard Corfe, who led the study, said:
“Our work has shown that most IBS sufferers in our trial had insufficient levels of vitamin D.
Furthermore there was an association between vitamin D status and the sufferer’s perceived quality of life, measured by the extent to which they reported impact on IBS on life.”
The study included 51 people with IBS, 82% of whom had insufficient vitamin D levels.
Around half the world’s general population is deficient in vitamin D.
From October to March many people in northern climes do not get enough vitamin D.
Vitamin D is found in oily fish, egg yolks, fortified cereals and some margarine spreads.
Most people need around 10 micrograms per day, which can also be obtained from supplements.
Dr Corfe said:
“It was clear from our findings that many people with IBS should have their vitamin D levels tested, and the data suggests that they may benefit from supplementation with vitamin D.
As a result of this exploratory study, we’re now able to design and justify a larger and more definitive clinical trial.”
IBS affects around 10-15% of people around the world.
The cause is unknown, but both diet and stress affect the symptoms.
One IBS sufferer, researcher Vicky Grant, explained:
“I read about other IBS patients experiencing success with vitamin D, via the online patient community.
I wasn’t really expecting the vitamin D supplements to work as I had tried and failed with so many other treatments.
I’m not cured but I have found that supplementation has dramatically improved my IBS.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology (Tazzyman et al., 2015).