Why Vitamin D is the Best Supplement for IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is not a fun disease to have. Symptoms of IBS can impede on your quality of life, causing frequent bouts of diarrhea and GI problems. This constant uncertainty and discomfort can cause anyone to embark on a quest for the best supplement for IBS.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is one of the most uncomfortable gastrointestinal disorders. This condition typically transpires in the large intestine. The large intestine is where your body stores food and water. When gut motility gets compromised, a viral infection takes over the organ, or harmful bacteria grows, these situations may all cause IBS.

Clinical Advisor describes IBS as:

“Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional bowel disorder in the general population, affecting approximately 25 to 45 billion people in the United States There is no known etiology, which makes identifying treatment for IBS a frustrating task for healthcare providers [1].”

Clinical Advisor

While IBS is very common, it shares many of the same symptoms as other diseases like ulcerative colitis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and SIBO.

Symptoms of IBS

Symptoms of IBS includes [2]:

Just point me in the right direction
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Gas in Stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Mucus in Stool

It is a chronic condition that develops over time. Therefore, there is no quick cure for IBS. You must seek IBS treatments and be sure to work closely with your physician.

IBS AND MICROBIOME TESTING

Since IBS is one of the most common gastroenterology diseases, you want to take your first plan of attack on IBS by fixing your gut health. Achieving this task doesn’t happen overnight. You’re going to need help.

Thryve Probiotics and Microbiome Testing
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First, you need to test the gut bacteria in stomach. Using our Thryve At-Home Gut Health Test Kit, we can determine which harmful bacteria is causing your gastrointestinal distress.

By knowing which gut flora is causing these GI problems, we can then formulate a personalized probiotic supplement. It will contain beneficial bacteria that will combat the harmful microbes. Learn more about your gut health with our free Ultimate Guide to Healing a Leaky Gut.

While Leaky Gut Syndrome isn’t IBS, there are a lot of parallels, which as mentioned before, makes diagnosing IBS so tricky.

As you start your journey to gut health, it’s good to get the right nutrients to combat IBS. let’s take a more in-depth look at the best supplement for IBS, Vitamin D.

Vitamin D: The Best Supplement for IBS

Vitamin D has been shown to be fairly beneficial when it comes to symptoms of IBS. This is because IBS might be a symptom itself of being deficient in this vitamin [1].

The Rise in Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D, also known as The Sunshine Vitamin, is one that many people do not get enough of. In fact, studies have shown that up to 65% of people in the US either are deficient or have an insufficient amount of Vitamin D [3].

vitamin d deficiency
We spend most our days sheltered from the sun

There are many reasons why this can be the case. The biggest one being that many of us just do not go outside often anymore. We spend the majority of our time in front of our keyboards or game systems, not even allowing sunlight to come through the window.

When it comes to adding Vitamin D to your diet, there are many ways to do it, as well as some pros and cons of each.

How to Get More Vitamin D

Sunlight is probably the best way to get Vitamin D, as your body is best able to process it and use it. However, even small amounts of sun exposure can increase your risk for skin cancer, so it is best to balance your risks and benefits, and always wear some form of sunscreen.

Soak in the rays responsibly

Supplements are another option. They are readily available at almost any store and inexpensive to purchase. Unfortunately, supplements can only do so much.

VITAMIN D FOODS

While going outside is still the best option for upping your Vitamin D intake, you can help bring up levels with supplements. However, Vitamin D foods can also improve your Vitamin D levels.

Many companies fortify plant-milks and cow’s milk with Vitamin D. This is done to combat our lack of Vitamin D intake. However, Vitamin D has also shown in studies to help with the absorption of calcium within the body.

Stronger bones sound like a dream come true, but don’t go overboard with Vitamin D and calcium consumption [4].

Research indicates,

“The safe upper level of vitamin D recommended by the Endocrine Society when accompanied by calcium supplements results in frequent hypercalciuria. The risk of kidney stones at these levels should be investigated.”

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf).

Getting it from your foods can help as well, and lots of fatty fish, like Salmon and Trout, as well as mushrooms exposed to UV light, can have much higher levels of Vitamin D [5].

The Science of Vitamin D and IBS.

People who have IBS are often also are deficient in Vitamin D. There are two strong, probable causes that these two issues go hand-in-hand:

  • Not Having Enough Vitamin D is causing IBS
  • IBS-induced diarrhea is preventing Vitamin D absorption

According to one study that was published in 2018 in the Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology:

“Recent studies have suggested a relationship between vitamin D and IBS. Vitamin D has a potential role as immune modulator, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial agent that can explain its role in IBS. Furthermore, vitamin D receptors (VDR) are expressed in the gut affecting gut function, motility, and IBS symptoms. Moreover, depression, which initiates or aggravates IBS symptoms, is more common in vitamin D deficiency [6].”

Saudi J Gastroenterol

A lot of the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency trigger symptoms of IBS. When our body is lacking an essential nutrient in cell production and vitamin absorption, it may cause joint pain, GI issues, and inflammation. All of this stress may cause someone to develop IBS.

Why Vitamin D is the Best Supplement for IBS

Vitamin D deficiencies are so common among people who have IBS. It might be best to talk to your doctor about seeing if you have it, and what you can do to help reduce the symptoms.

Vitamin D for IBS
No beating the sun

But, is there any research showing that Vitamin D is the best supplement for IBS? There is a study that looks at this very topic that was published in 2018. It is titled “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?”

The conclusion of the study states that:

“The available evidence suggests that low vitamin D status is common among the IBS population and merits assessment and rectification for general health reasons alone. An inverse correlation between serum vitamin D and IBS symptom severity is suggested and vitamin D interventions may benefit symptoms [7].”

Eur J Clin Nutr.

It should be noted the study also states that the evidence found was not reliable as a standalone analysis and that further research is needed. However, this knowledge is beneficial for people who may suffer from IBS. This news gives hope that increased sunlight might be the best supplement for IBS.

Corrective Actions and IBS Treatments

With that being said, there is no harm in getting outside more and trying out a supplement that many people take. However, you should consult your physician first. They need to be aware of any changes you make to your diet and lifestyle, including supplements and microbiome testing.

IBS is a serious disorder that can harm your overall quality of life. While there are some things you can change in your lifestyle to fix it, do not take it on all by yourself. Talk to your physician, get outside, change your diet, and improve your gut health.

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Resources

[1] Pollock, M. E., Barrett, Crnpc., Barrett, D. C., Barrett, C. C., & Barrett, F.-B. C. (2019, February 8). Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Vitamin D: Is There a Connection? – Clinical Advisor. Clinical Advisor. Retrieved from clinicaladvisor.com/home/topics/gastroenterology-information-center/irritable-bowel-syndrome-and-vitamin-d-is-there-a-connection/

[2] “Irritable Bowel Syndrome.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 17 Mar. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016.

[3] E, M., & al., et. (2019, April). Prevalence and predictors of vitamin D deficiency in a nationally representative sample of adults participating in the 2011-2013 Australian Health … – PubMed – NCBI. Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30674358

[4] Aloia, John F, et al. “Safety of Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements, a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Clinical Endocrinology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30180273.

[5] U.S Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. 2014. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 27. Available at: http://www.ars.usda.gov/nutrientdata.

[6] Amrousy, D. E. (2018, April 1). Vitamin D supplementation in adolescents with irritable bowel syndrome: Is it useful? A randomized controlled trial. PubMed Central (PMC). Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5900470/