Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with a host of negative health implications. Bumping up intake can help in most cases, leading to better overall health and lower risk for plenty of health conditions.
Except irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS.
Previous research has suggested a potential link between vitamin D levels and IBS symptoms, but a new study is saying not so fast. While vitamin D supplementation may correct deficiencies and offer a variety of benefits, they do not reduce severe IBS symptoms.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic digestive disorder that can cause stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. Symptoms can fade in and out for most, however, they can severely affect the quality of life for many sufferers.
People with severe symptoms may suffer from severe anxiety about leaving home, for example, if symptoms flare up. Symptoms can also be extremely painful and hit hard out of nowhere.
There are no current treatments for IBS. The best tool is to try and manage it by avoiding trigger foods or situations.
Researchers looked at 135 IBS patients. About half were given a vitamin D oral spray, while the rest were given a placebo. They all followed the assigned protocol for 12 weeks.
Even though adequate vitamin D levels were restored in the vitamin D group, they experienced no improvements in the severity of their IBS symptoms or their quality of life.
The study was published in the European Journal of Nutrition.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do to relieve the symptoms of IBS. The best option is to avoid trigger foods and situations that lead to flare-ups. Treatment is ultimately management.
Identifying foods that may lead to severe symptoms, and avoiding them, may help. Finding ways to manage stress may also have some effect on limiting flare-ups and the severity of symptoms. According to this new study, however, vitamin D won’t help.