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Vitamin D supplementation may help relieve symptoms for patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to researchers from the University of Sheffield in England who found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in IBS patients worldwide.
Investigators reviewed all the research available on vitamin D and IBS and found that Vitamin D deficiency was consistent regardless of where IBS patients lived. They also looked at the potential benefits of vitamin D supplements for those with IBS symptoms.
Bernard Corfe, PhD, lead author of the study told Healthline that, “vitamin D is an important factor in multiple diseases and areas of health, including musculoskeletal, immune, mental health, and other gut health conditions, including colorectal cancer and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).”
Experts don’t know why those with IBS have a vitamin D deficiency. Diet and the impact of IBS on a person’s daily life ,which could prevent them from getting enough vitamin D, are two possible reasons, but further research is needed.
So how do you know if you’re lacking vitamin D?
Your doctor can order a simple blood test. Many gastroenterologists are checking patients for vitamin D deficiency, according to Dr. Arnold Wald, a professor of gastroenterology at the University of Wisconsin, who told Healthline that he regularly requests tests of patients’ vitamin D levels.
“I do check vitamin D deficiency in many of my GI patients and I’m often rewarded by finding it,” he told Healthline. “It’s very inexpensive to order and very inexpensive to treat.”
But Dr. Wald also told Healthline that the link between IBS and vitamin D calls for further research and may become a regular test requested by physicians.
Patients are advised to ask their doctors before taking vitamin D or any other supplements.
Vitamin D status in irritable bowel syndrome and the impact of supplementation on symptoms: what do we know and what do we need to know?, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2018)
Vitamin D May Help Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Healthline