Link Between Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Vitamin D Levels

According to a new study presented in the BMJ Open Gastroenterology, many individuals living with irritable bowel syndrome are Vitamin D

Irritable bowel syndrome is a serious and debilitating functional problem of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, impacting about 9-23 percent of individuals globally and 10-15 percent of individuals in the US.

Why and how the problem evolves is something of a hidden knowledge, even though dietary aspects and stress are well-known to make symptoms more serious.

Symptoms consist of a combination of diarrhea or constipation, bloating, urgency (the need to use a washroom in a hurry), white or yellow mucus in the feces and the sensation of incompletely passing stools.

These can lead to discomfort for sufferers, who may live with the condition undiagnosed. There is no cure.

The causes and effects of Irritable bowel syndrome differ from one person to another, making treatment complicated.

Irritable bowel syndrome accounts for 2.4-3.5 million doctor visits every year in the US, around 12% of total visits to primary care providers. The economic load is also higher, with costs associated to medical care, loss of productivity and absenteeism from work approximated to be about $21 billion per year.

82% of individuals with Irritable bowel syndrome lack vitamin D

Lead investigator Dr Bernard Corfe and co-researchers examined the connection between vitamin D levels and the seriousness of Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms – and especially the level to which Irritable bowel syndrome impacts their quality of life.

Out of 51 sufferers with Irritable bowel syndrome, 82 percent showed inadequate vitamin D levels; in addition, the vitamin D status reflected the sufferer’s perceived quality of life, calculated by the level to which they reported the impact on Irritable bowel syndrome on life.

Lead investigator Dr. Corfe says that that the data offer “a potential new understanding into the problem and significantly a new way to try to manage it.”

He adds:

“Irritable bowel syndrome is a poorly understood problem that effects drastically on the quality of life of patients. There is no single identified cause and similarly no single known cure. Physicians and sufferers presently have to work jointly and use trial and error to manage the situation, and this may take several years with no assurance of success.”

Investigator Vicky Grant has lived with Irritable bowel syndrome for over 3 decades, but she experienced a considerable enhancement in symptoms following an introduction to a higher dose of vitamin D3 supplement around 5 years ago.

She identified that the supplementation significantly enhanced her situation, while other therapies had been worthless. Grant notices that Irritable bowel syndrome is quite a complicated illness that may take place alongside other problems, which could also benefit from the vitamin D supplements.

Associations have previously been founded between vitamin D and inflammatory bowel disease, blood pressure and heart and kidney disease.

The investigators plan to conduct a larger and more specified clinical trial and recommend that examining for vitamin D levels and vitamin D supplementation could assist many sufferers.