Vitamin D improves gut health and reduces chances for metabolic syndrome
Because vitamin D has many positive effects on the body, doctors wanted to study vitamin D and gut health. In this pilot study, 16 men and women took 445 IU of vitamin D per pound of body weight per week for the first four weeks, then 222 IU per pound per week for the next four weeks. By the end of the study, vitamin D levels had increased by about 2.5 times, to 55.2 nanograms per milliliter of blood, an optimal level.
After taking vitamin D, levels of disease-causing bacteria had declined, including H-pylori, a common cause of stomach ulcer. Bad bacteria tend to grow in an inflammatory environment, and vitamin D appeared to reduce inflammation. Discussing the findings, doctors said vitamin D regulates the environment—or “microbiome”—in the upper gastrointestinal tract of the gut, which may explain its positive effects on inflammatory bowel disease and bacterial infection.
Reference: European Journal of Nutrition; June, 2016, Vol. 55, No. 4, 1479-89
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of traits that include abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, similar to those in pre-diabetes. A type of bacteria in the gut, H-pylori, may predict metabolic syndrome. In this study, doctors measured vitamin D levels in 2,113 men and women and tested for H-pylori infection.
Men and women with H-pylori were 50 percent more likely to develop metabolic syndrome as those without. Doctors also found those who were low in vitamin D, with levels below 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood, were 42 percent more likely to develop the syndrome.
Participants who were both low in vitamin D and who had H-pylori were more than twice as likely (114 percent) to develop metabolic syndrome compared to men and women without H-pylori who had sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Reference: Medicine (Baltimore); May, 2016, Vol. 95, No. 18, e3616