Probiotics May Increase Blood Levels of Vitamin D
Probiotics are best known for their positive effects on gut health but research has shown that they provide benefits for other parts of our body as well. A new study has found that oral supplementation of the probiotic strain Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 increased the level of circulating vitamin D in the blood by 25%.
Low circulating levels of vitamin D increase the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
Participants in the study included 127 healthy adults with high cholesterol levels. Over the course of nine weeks, half of the group took the oral probiotic supplement while the other half took a placebo.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that circulating blood levels of 25(OH)D (the active form of vitamin D) had increased by 14.9 nmol/l (25.5%). The placebo group had an increase of only 22.4%.
Researchers from McGill University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on April 22, 2013, in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
While probiotics are most commonly linked to improving digestion and gut health, they have also been shown to have other health benefits, including a stronger immune system, and a reduced risk of chronic disease.
Probiotics can be found naturally in many foods, such as yogurt, milk and sauerkraut. You may also consider taking a high quality supplement but make sure it is packaged to block light, air and moisture, which can easily kill probiotics.
Vitamin D has been shown to improve kidney health, reduce the risk of skin cancer, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, combat diabetes, and improve age related eye degeneration.
Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Our body also process vitamin D from the sun (which is where the nickname “sunshine vitamin” comes from) but our bodies have a harder time processing it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.