Low vitamin D levels exacerbate irritable bowel syndrome symptoms

Low vitamin D levels exacerbate IBS symptoms

A new study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that the level of vitamin D in the system can contribute to the severity of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

IBS is a chronic, relapsing, functional bowel disorder which can often be brought on by factors such as stress and certain foods.

To date, there have been seven studies published: four observational studies and three randomised controlled trails (RCTs).

The observational studies found that a substantial number of the IBS population was vitamin D deficient, while the two intervention studies reported improvement in IBS symptom severity scores and quality of life after vitamin D supplementation.

Understanding IBS

Lead on the study Bernard Corfe from the University of Sheffield, UK, said: “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.

“IBS is a poorly understood condition which impacts severely on the quality of life of sufferers. There is no single known cause and likewise no single known cure.”

How do you get vitamin D?

Vitamin D can be created in the body by exposure to direct sunlight; however, there are some situations where this is not entirely possible.

There are many foods that you can get your vitamin D intake from instead, including oily fish such as mackerel, herring, salmon and sardines, as well as red meat and eggs.

Facts about IBS

Symptoms for irritable bowel syndrome include:

  • Diarrhoea;
  • Constipation;
  • Food intolerance;
  • Pain and cramping;
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping;
  • Gas and bloating; and
  • Changes in bowel movements.
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