Could Vitamin D help your gut microbiome flourish?
When it comes to Vitamin D, you should trust your gut! Please pardon the pun, because today we are looking at gut health. Your digestive system is more important than just absorbing nutrients from the food you eat. Turns out that the health of your digestive system can affect the health of your whole body, including depression, anxiety, immune system strength, and chronic pain.
In the past few decades, scientists have been paying a lot of attention to the "microbiome" of the digestive system. The microbiome refers to the billions of microorganisms that are spread throughout your digestive system. We now have a preponderance of data showing that it's important to have a wide variety of microorganisms. For further reading about the importance of the bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and other microscopic life in your gut you can read this Healthline article or review this article in the journal Integrative Medicine.
Does Vitamin D improve gut health?
An article published in 2020 in Scientific Reports stated that "vitamin D is intimately involved in the regulation of inflammation via a bidirectional relationship with the gut microbiota". An article published in 2017 in Metabolism concluded that inflammation was affected "in part in the relationship between the gut microbiota and vitamin D concentration". These articles are just two of many scientific articles that discuss the importance of Vitamin D in gut microbiome health.
It's clear that Vitamin D influences gut health and can influence the microorganisms in the gut, but science is still trying to understand how Vitamin D does this. An article published in EverydayHealth.com in April 2023 sheds a little light on one possible mechanism that explains how Vitamin D improves gut health. In this article, clinical associate professor Dr. Chris Damman of the University of Washington says that Vitamin D helps keep the tight junctions of the gut lining intact. '“There are vitamin D receptors in the lining of the gut that communicate with the tight junctions that stitch the gut cells together,” says Dr. Damman."
The subject of gut health and the microorganisms that support gut health is something that is currently being researched and explored by scientists around the world. It is likely that over the next five to ten years we will learn a lot more about how important Vitamin D is for the health of your digestive system. It's actually very exciting.
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