New Study Suggests Gut Health May Affect How The Body Uses Vitamin D
It's no secret that vitamin D is essential for our bodies to function at their best. For those who live in climates that get less sun this time of year, many turn to supplements to get their daily allotment. But according to new research published in Nature Communications, how well your gut metabolizes that vitamin D may matter, too.
The gut/vitamin-D connection.
First, it's important to note that the researchers from the University of California–San Diego specifically looked at the active form of vitamin D. This refers to vitamin D that has been metabolized in the body.
For the study, researchers looked at stool and blood samples from 567 senior men—from all over the United States—all in reportedly good health. They collected data about both active vitamin D levels and gut bacteria.
Upon examination, the findings indicated that gut health was closely linked with active vitamin D levels. And, on top of that, the participants with the most active vitamin D often had 12 specific types of bacteria that produce butyrate. (Butyrate is a fatty acid that helps to maintain the gut lining.)
Why does it matter?
The takeaway here is, if you're looking to up your vitamin D, tending to your gut might be helpful. As senior author of the study and professor Deborah Kado, M.D., says in a news release, in addition to getting adequate amounts of vitamin D through sunlight and supplementation, she believes "it matters how well your body is able to metabolize that into active vitamin D."
Going forward, the team says more research is necessary on the gut/vitamin-D connection. Should results be replicated, it could open up the possibility of addressing certain vitamin-D-related health issues via the gut.
But until then, with everything we know about how important it is to have a healthy and diverse microbiome, consider this yet another potential reason to mind your gut.
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