When you think of important vitamins, no doubt you immediately think of the big 3: vitamin A, C, and E. Vitamin A is the rockstar that keeps your eyes, hair, skin, and fingernails healthy. Vitamin C is the immune-boosting superhero that’s also heart-smart, inflammation-fighting, and fat-burning. Vitamin E is your shield against skin conditions, arterial plaque, and internal inflammation. These bad boys are definitely vital for your health.
But don’t forget about vitamin D. It may not be as glamorous as the other vitamins, but it’s no less important. It’s vital for healthy bones, healthy skin, and even plays a role in cellular growth. As one new study found, it can also reduce your risk of ulcerative colitis (UC), a serious inflammatory bowel disease.
The study, conducted at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, found that a lack of vitamin D raises the risk of relapse among UC patients. Previous studies had linked vitamin D deficiencies with flare-ups of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and other inflammatory bowel diseases. However, this is the first study to point to low vitamin D as being the trigger behind the flare-ups, rather than the side effect.
The researchers measured vitamin D levels in 70 patients with their UC in clinical remission. They tested blood vitamin D levels and administered colonoscopies to determine the health of the bowels. They then monitored the patients for one year.
As expected, many of the patients experienced relapses and flare-ups of their inflammatory bowel diseases. The researchers compared the data for the patients and found that the baseline blood vitamin D levels among those who suffered flare-ups were on average lower than those who did not. The patients with higher levels of vitamin D in their blood had a much lower risk of suffering relapses.
This study proves one very important fact: vitamin D can help to decrease the risk of inflammatory bowel disease. The higher your blood vitamin D levels, the lower the chance of a flare-up of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
The beauty of this discovery is that it’s actually a lot easier to get vitamin D than you’d think. All you have to do is spend 30 minutes out in the sun every day, and your body will produce the vitamin D it needs thanks to the UVB rays in the sunlight. Plus, as you get out of the house and off the couch, you’ll feel better and improve your digestive health overall. It’s a win-win.
1. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BI. “Low-level vitamin D during remission contributes to relapse in ulcerative colitis patients.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 21 Feb. 2017. Web.