Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is now a fact of life for up to a quarter of Americans, and a review of all available vitamin D and IBS research found that individuals with IBS were likely to have insufficient levels of vitamin D. This is not the first time that a vitamin d deficiency has been linked to a serious disease, despite the lack of conclusive studies. Research from the University of Sheffield also indicated that vitamin d supplementation could alleviate IBS symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. Dr. Bernard Corfe, one of its lead authors says, “The study provides an insight into the condition and, importantly, a new way to try to manage it…It is evident from the findings that all people with IBS should have their vitamin D levels tested and a large majority of them would benefit from supplements.”
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is necessary for absorbing calcium and maintaining bone strength, but the lack of it is also keenly felt. Vitamin d deficiencies have been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, and weight gain in addition to IBS. But vitamin d is a fat-soluble vitamin and at times is stored in the body for months. How do you know when your levels are low? Here are some signs of a deficiency to look out for:
- Muscle weakness and fatigue
- Red or white acne-like bumps on the cheeks, arms, thighs, and butt
- Respiratory problems
- Constant infections
While these aren’t the only symptoms, they are some of the more subtle ones. If you catch the deficiency in time or know you have one, there are a few ways to fix that.
Get More Vitamin D
When looking to correct a vitamin deficiency, the best place to start is with whole foods. Most of the foods recommended to boost your vitamin d intake are animal-based, including egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel. There are a few vegan options, like shitake mushrooms.
There’s also the most obvious source of vitamin d – the sun. There are ways to increase your likelihood of vitamin d absorption from the sun (no sunscreen, for instance), but many locations don’t get enough light during winter months to make the sun a reliable source of vitamin d. That’s especially troubling, as low vitamin d makes people for susceptible to the flu.
This leaves supplementation as the best option for many people. One thing to be careful about? Large amounts of vitamin d for a long time can be toxic.
Medical professionals don’t know what causes IBS, and they don’t know how to treat it. Being aware of your vitamin intake through food, environment or supplementation can make a big difference Vitamin d deficiencies have been linked to major diseases and illnesses. In the face of an increasingly dangerous flu season, now is the time to increase your dose.
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