Vitamin D deficiency as a cause of constipation

Vitamin D as a special case among vitamins

Strictly speaking, vitamin D is not a “real” vitamin at all. Rather, the human body can produce the vitamin itself, provided it absorbs sufficient solar radiation. The body absorbs around 80 to 90 percent and thus the largest part through sunlight. The body absorbs the remaining 10 to 20 percent through food.

How “well” or how “bad” vitamin D is synthesized by the body depends on various factors such as the time of year or the individual skin type. Nevertheless, many people have a lack of vitamin D, mostly unnoticed. According to the German Nutrition Society, the majority of the population living in Germany does not or not fully exploit the potential of vitamin D.

Why vitamin D is important for the body’s digestion

One of the reasons why vitamin D plays an important role in intestinal health is that it actively participates in the formation of antimicrobial antibodies. In addition, the signals sent out by vitamin D regulate inflammatory reactions in the intestine. If there is a vitamin D deficiency, the human intestine is consequently less efficient.

Because then the messenger substance no longer stimulates the intestinal mucosa to produce cells and thus build up an active protective barrier. If constipation occurs as a result of an undersupply, the mucous membrane of the intestine has already become skewed and permeable. If the intestinal flora gets into a permanent imbalance due to vitamin D deficiency, this can have far-reaching consequences: slower intestinal movements, cramped muscles and flatulence. Accordingly, physicians suspect that the symptom of constipation can also occur more frequently with vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency is often associated with chronic constipation

In 2019, scientists were able to demonstrate possible connections between vitamin D deficiency and chronic constipation in a study involving more than 80 subjects. In many cases, it was possible to demonstrate a causal relationship based on the vitamin D level in the blood. The scientists also do not rule out a connection with vitamin D and the so-called irritable bowel syndrome.

Since a large part of the immune system is located in the intestine and the so-called vitamin D receptors can also be found there, a vitamin deficiency affects the susceptibility to inflammation. In 2015, researchers found in a study that well over 80 percent of patients who suffered from irritable bowel syndrome and, for example, often had constipation, were deficient in vitamin D.

Get vitamin D deficiency and constipation under control

In order to boost the production of vitamin D in the body, those affected should go out in the sun more often. Especially during the dark season, you should walk a few minutes a day during the day. If there is a significant deficiency, this can be counteracted with the administration of vitamin D preparations. However, you should pay attention to the dosage so that there is no excess after a while.

Anyone who takes in large amounts of vitamin D every day may get an increased calcium level and associated symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting or nausea. However, such overdoses only occur in rare cases and only when the daily dose of vitamin D exceeds 4,000 IU. A vitamin D deficiency can also be partially compensated for through diet. Foods that contain a lot of vitamin D include avocados, cashew nuts, tuna and dark chocolate.

It is also important to avoid stress in the case of intestinal diseases. Those affected should get enough sleep and allow themselves breaks in everyday life so that food can be optimally absorbed and processed. In addition, long walks are good, as this way the body absorbs enough vitamin D in summer and the intestinal movements are also stimulated in the fresh air. If the constipation is acute, laxatives provide temporary support until the vitamin D deficiency is resolved.

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