Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic disorder of the gastrointestinal tract that disrupts the lives of the 20-45 million people in the U.S. alone who suffer from it. Symptoms of pain and discomfort caused by bloating, mind gas, ask constipation, diarrhea and the urgency to find the nearest bathroom interfere with their quality of life on a daily basis. If you’ve ever experienced these symptoms for even the briefest time, you have a small glimpse of what it’s like to have your life taken over by your “second brain”.
There’s help — according to a new study published this month which links low vitamin D levels with severity of symptoms in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researcher Dr. Bernard Corfe of the University of Sheffield Molecular Gastroenterology Research Group found 82% with IBS low in vitamin D. While Dr. Corfe noted that there is no single cause or cure for IBS, he suggests his data provides “new insights on the condition and potentially a new way to manage it”. He further suggests anyone with IBS check their vitamin D3 status and supplement if necessary.
Researchers of a previously published study in March of 2015 came to a similar conclusion: “Our study shows that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in patients with IBS and these results seem to have therapeutic implications. Vitamin D supplementation could play a therapeutic role in the control of IBS”.
What’s more, Vitamin D3 could be an effective and low cost therapy for IBS. If you are really low, you may want to opt for 5,000 IUs a day; otherwise Vitamin D3 2,000 IUs a day is a typical daily dose. The D3 form is more bioavailable, which is important in IBS, given that absorption is via the GI tract whose function — one which is helping your body absorb nutrients — may already be compromised.
It’s easy to check your D status with a blood test. The “normal” for a serum blood level of vitamin D3 is 30 ng/mL; however, many people feel better when their level is around 50 ng/mL. Work with your doctor to find what’s best for you.
If you have IBS and try Vitamin D3 and find it helpful, let me know! Others will be glad to hear about your experience.