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Can Vitamin D Help Ease IBS Symptoms?

A few years ago, I started developing a chronic vitamin D deficiency. Often running dangerously low on my vitamin D levels, I have been taking daily vitamin D supplements for the better part of the past four years. Whether or not it’s related, my IBS has been in remission for much of that time, with only the occasional flare.

IBS and vitamin D

I am unsure of what the correlation might be, but it does seem that those like me with chronic conditions, especially that impact the autoimmune system, tend to run low in vitamin D. Those with fibromlyagia (another chronic disorder I have been diagnosed with) especially tend to suffer from very low levels of vitamin D.1

This past summer, a new study found that vitamin D has some benefits for IBS patients. In particular, researchers from the Department of Oncology and Metabolism of the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency after analyzing all the available literature they had on the intersection of vitamin D and IBS. Specifically, the review found and scrutinized seven studies that had been published regarding IBS and vitamin D. Of these, four were observational studies and three were randomized controlled trials. All of the observational studies found that a significant percentage of the IBS population they studied had some sort of vitamin D deficiency. Additionally, two of the trials found that those with IBS symptoms experienced at least some relief, as well as an increase in their quality of life, when they started supplementing with vitamin D.2

Do you have a vitamin D deficiency?

While these findings may not be definitive, they are compelling. Vitamin D supplements are widely available and sold over-the-counter and are an easy and relatively low-risk thing to incorporate into one’s daily routine. That being said, if you have IBS, you should first have your vitamin D levels formally checked via a blood test and see if you are deficient before you start supplementing willy nilly. If you are determined to have a deficiency (or in danger of developing one), you should then consult with your doctor about what dosage would be best for you before supplementing.

Do you or have you ever had a vitamin D deficiency? If so, did you find taking a daily supplement eased your IBS symptoms? Does it have other benefits as well? Answer in the comments section below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The IrritableBowelSyndrome.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Makrani AH. Vitamin D and fibromyalgia: a meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5665736/. Published October 2017.
  2. Williams CE, Williams EA, Corfe BM. Vitamin D status in irritable bowel syndrome and the impact of supplementation on symptoms: what do we know and what do we need to know? Nature News. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41430-017-0064-z. Published January 25, 2018.

Comments

  • Loopy79
    8 months ago

    I’ve had IBS for 24 years, I think its definitely related to my hormones. I’ve started taking Vit D and it seems to be helping with my IBS.

  • sheilacorbin
    8 months ago

    I, too, have had Vitamin D deficiency for several years. And have been taking D-3 2000 mcg daily, as well as D-3 50,000 mcg weekly. It has had no effect on my IBS-Diarrhea that I can tell.

  • Phoebe
    8 months ago

    So interesting! I was diagnosed with IBS in March. When I went to my regular doctor for my annual check-up a few months later, my blood work indicated low Vitamin D levels for the first time ever. I’m now on a supplement. I’m so new to dealing with this malady and trying to figure out what and what not to eat that I can’t yet say whether the supplement has helped.

  • Chris Hall moderator
    8 months ago

    Thanks for weighing in, @Phoebe! Really interesting that your vitamin D levels were low for the first time. I hope the supplements help you! Since you mentioned that you’re figuring what to eat and not eat, I thought I’d share this information with you: https://irritablebowelsyndrome.net/ibs-diet/. The low FODMAP diet has helped some folks here achieve some symptom relief. Although there are some recommended foods on this list, everyone has different triggers. Some have found that working with a dietitian has helped. Hope this helps! – Chris, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team Member

  • AmericanDad
    8 months ago

    Funny this should come up. I was talking with my two Primary Care Providers, one holistic, the other conventional, because flareups and GI related fears were constantly wreaking havoc on my daily life. Both doctors ran extensive blood panels to more ease my mind more than anything else about nothing nefarious being amiss. Turned out that I had insanely low vitamin D levels. They were so low that I started getting questions about depression and suicidal ideation from my conventional PCP and so of course I asked why the new line of questioning. Apparently depression in all forms have been directly correlated with low vit D levels. Interestingly enough, my witch doctor, or holistic to the PC community, told me that the mind gut connection is a big part of IBS and stress makes us burn vit D ar faster than normal rates. The treatment… take vit D supplements and get outside more. As an outdoorsy fella who also has my work office chair in direct intense sunlight all day every day this surprised me that I would be vit D deficient. In any case, after about a week and a half the vit D somehow lifted my mood a bit. Not profoundly but definitely felt less gray. Within a month my perseveration on bowel related catastrophes lifted as well. I can genuinely see a benefit and in the bowl the decreased stress levels have lead to better shape, bulk, consistency, and ease than I have had in several months. There are still some flare days but they havent been flare weeks or months so I count that as a solid win. I am not a scientist and I have no research to back me up but both my PCPs intersected on the benefits of vit D and so far it has proved very helpful for me for what it is worth to those of you considering it.

  • Chris Hall moderator
    8 months ago

    This is great, @americandad! So glad to hear that the vitamin D supplements have had such a positive impact. I hope your symptoms continue to improve. Thanks for taking the time to share with us! – Chris, IrritableBowelSyndrome.net Team Member

  • LynneT
    8 months ago

    I read once that the glass in a window prevents your skin from making Vit. D when you sit in a sunny spot.

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