Daily dose of vitamin D eases agonising IBS and even benefits sufferers' mental health, study finds

By Alexandra Thompson Health Reporter For Mailonline

A daily dose of vitamin D may ease the agonising pain of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), new research suggests.

The so-called 'sunshine supplement' can return sufferers' bowel habits to normal, which could even benefit their mental health, a US study review found. IBS has previously been linked to depression and anxiety.

Although the researchers did not speculate on how vitamin D lessens IBS, past research shows the nutrient is anti-inflammatory, which may ease discomfort in sufferers' bowels.

IBS affects between 10 and 15 per cent of people in the UK. It occurs when sufferers experience symptoms, such as abdominal pain and a change in bowel habits, but there is no clear cause behind them.

Up to 24 per cent of children and 20 per cent of adults in the UK are deficient in vitamin D.

Does Vitamin D Prevent Arthritis?
Vitamin D may prevent inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, research suggested in November 2017.

The so-called 'sunshine supplement' strengthens the immune system, which helps to prevent the body from attacking healthy cells and causing autoimmune conditions, like arthritis.

Rheumatoid arthritis, which causes joint swelling, may also benefit from vitamin D's anti-inflammatory effects.

Yet, as the painful joint condition reduces a sufferer's vitamin D sensitivity, patients may not benefit from taking such supplements once they have developed the disorder, or at least not at recommended doses, according to the researchers.

Study author Dr Louisa Jeffery from the University of Birmingham, said: 'Our research indicates that maintaining sufficient vitamin D may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

'However, for patients who already have rheumatoid arthritis, simply providing vitamin D might not be enough. Instead much higher doses may be needed'.

The researchers analysed blood and joint fluid from rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Vitamin D restores normal bowel habits
Researchers from the University of Sheffield analysed seven studies investigating a link between IBS and vitamin D.

One trial found a woman's bowel habits returned to near normal after a high dose of vitamin D, which eased her depression and anxiety.

Another investigation analysed 1,000 IBS patients and found 75 per cent had insufficient vitamin D levels.

Looking at 37 blogs of IBS sufferers revealed 70 per cent reported benefiting from taking vitamin D.

The findings were published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Supplement may prevent type 1 diabetes
This comes after research published in October last year suggested vitamin D in childhood prevents type 1 diabetes.

The sunshine supplement lowers susceptible individuals' risk by strengthening their immune system, the study found.

Lead author Dr Jill Norris from the University of Colorado, said: 'For several years there has been controversy among scientists about whether vitamin D lowers the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.'

The researchers analyzed 8,676 children from the US and Europe with an elevated type 1 diabetes risk.



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