Vitamin D Insufficiency Linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Sports Injuries

This article was originally published by Dr. Mercola

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common gastrointestinal disorder in the U.S. An estimated $1.6 billion is spent on treatments each year.1,2 Depending on the source, data suggests anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of Americans struggle with this condition.3,4

IBS is completely different from another condition with a similar name: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which is an autoimmune disease that can have very serious consequences. While it can cause debilitating pain, IBS is a functional bowel disorder, meaning there are no significant physical conditions that contribute to the problem. Common signs and symptoms of IBS include frequent:

  • Abdominal discomfort and/or pain
  • Spastic colon (spastic contractions of the colon)
  • Gas and/or bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

IBS is frequently treated with drugs such as antispasmodics and even antidepressants. While these drugs may help control symptoms, they do not address the underlying problem, which is primarily diet related. Typically, simply avoiding gluten will result in significant improvement. Recent research has also highlighted the importance of vitamin D optimization in this condition.

IBS Strongly Associated With Vitamin D Insufficiency

A recent review5,6,7 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that of the seven published studies looking at vitamin D status and IBS prevalence, four observational studies concluded vitamin D deficiency is prominent among those with IBS — with about 75 percent having insufficient levels — and two intervention studies reported “improvement in IBS symptom severity scores and quality of life” among those given vitamin D supplements. In one, 70 percent of IBS patients improved on the vitamin D regimen. According to the authors:

“The available evidence suggests that low vitamin D status is common among the IBS population and merits assessment and rectification for general health reasons alone. An inverse correlation between serum vitamin D and IBS symptom severity is suggested and vitamin D interventions may benefit symptoms.”

Lead author Bernard Corfe, Ph.D.,8 a senior lecturer in oncology at the University of Sheffield in the U.K., told reporters, “It is evident from the findings that all people with IBS should have their vitamin D levels tested and a large majority of them would benefit from supplements.”9

Another recent study10 looking at gene expression and variations in patients’ serotonin pathways also concluded that IBS patients tend to have lower vitamin D levels, and that expression of genetic biomarkers for IBS are modulated by vitamin D. According to the authors:

“Strikingly, the direction of gene regulation elicited by vitamin D in colonic cells is ‘opposite’ to the gene expression profile observed in IBS patients, suggesting that vitamin D may help ‘reverse’ the pathological direction of biomarker gene expression in IBS. Thus, our results intimate that IBS pathogenesis and pathophysiology may involve dysregulated serotonin production and/or vitamin D insufficiency.”

Football Players Sidelined by Low Vitamin D

In related news, other recent research11 found nearly 60 percent of National Football League players have low vitamin D levels, placing them at increased risk for injury. Fifty-six percent of those with insufficient levels of vitamin D (a serum level of 20 to 31 ng/mL) suffered some form of lower extremity muscle strain or muscle injury while playing, and 73 percent of those with severe deficiency (a vitamin D level of 20 ng/mL or lower) ended up with muscle injuries.

For comparison, only 40 percent of those with “normal” vitamin D levels reported injuries, defined here as a vitamin D level of 32 ng/mL or greater. Analysis revealed inadequate vitamin D levels nearly doubled a player’s odds of suffering lower extremity strain or core muscle injury, and raised their odds of hamstring injury nearly fourfold.

Considering the research showing 40 ng/mL is really the cutoff point for general health, and that 60 ng/mL is likely a more ideal level, one wonders if sports injuries might not be reduced even more were the players to maintain levels of 40 to 60 ng/mL. In a hospital news release, Dr. Brian Rebolledo, orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California, and the lead author of the study said:12

“We were interested in vitamin D in this population because it’s been shown to play an important role in muscle function and strength, which is critical to the high-performance athlete. Most of the past research into the harmful effects of low vitamin D has focused on the elderly, but relatively few studies have examined this association in the elite athlete. This study suggests that monitoring and treating low vitamin D may potentially be a simple way to help prevent certain muscle injuries.”

Have Gastrointestinal Issues? Avoid GMOs

Getting back to IBS, aside from optimizing your vitamin D level, it would be wise to evaluate your diet a bit further. As mentioned, avoiding gluten is an important first step in treating this condition, but avoiding GMO foods loaded with glyphosate and other pesticides may be equally important. As previously noted by Naked Food Magazine:13

“If you … suffer from a chronic digestive issue, then you should know that the food you choose to consume could be carrying a gene that is designed to intentionally cause intestinal rupture. [GMO] foods that contain Bt toxin, a built-in insecticide that inherently works by imploding the stomach of the creature that is feasting on it, could very well be contributing to your intestinal angst.”

Bt plants have been genetically engineered (GE) to be equipped with a gene from the soil bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis(Bt), allowing the plants to produce Bt toxin internally. Plant-incorporated pesticides such as Bt (both the protein and its genetic material) are actually registered with the EPA as a pesticide,14 but the Bt plant itself is not regulated as such, which has resulted in the false claim that Bt plants have reduced pesticide usage.

Importantly, the Bt toxin in Bt plants does not degrade, nor can it be removed or cleaned off the food because it’s integrated into each cell of the plant. The plant-produced version of the poison is also thousands of times more concentrated than the topical spray, making these GE foods a potential cause of significant health problems.

Bt Toxin Is Exempt From Toxicity Requirements

Plant-incorporated Bt toxin in Bt soybeans is also exempt from the requirement of a tolerance level for residues,15 both in the commodity and in the final food product. The final rule on this was issued in February 2014. This is truly incomprehensible in light of the potential for harm. Originally, Monsanto and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency claimed the Bt toxin produced inside the plant would be destroyed in the human digestive system, therefore posing no health risk.

This was proven false in 2011, when doctors at Sherbrooke University Hospital in Quebec found Bt-toxin in the blood of 93 percent of pregnant women tested, 80 percent of umbilical blood in their babies, and 67 percent of nonpregnant women.16 This study revealed that Bt toxin actually does bioaccumulate in your body, and you can bet it’s not going to do your health any favors.

Research17 suggests it may produce a wide variety of immune responses, including elevated IgE and IgG antibodies, typically associated with allergies and infections, and an increase in cytokines, associated with allergic and inflammatory responses.

For a Healthier Gut, Clean Up Your Diet and Optimize Your Vitamin D

If you struggle with IBS or any other gut-related issues, avoiding GE foods of all kinds may be a significant part of your answer. Aside from Bt plants, GE plants designed to be herbicide-resistant pose near-identical problems, as they tend to be loaded with toxic herbicides such as glyphosate, which have been shown to take a significant toll on your gut and overall health by destroying your microbiome.

Since GE foods are not required to be clearly labeled in the U.S., your best bet is to eat fresh, organic foods whenever possible and avoid processed foods.

As for vitamin D, the evidence suggests 60 ng/mL may be a more ideal low-end target rather than 40 ng/mL. Hitting 60 ng/mL significantly lowers your risk of all cancers, and for women concerned with breast cancer, having a level of 60 ng/mL can lower your risk by as much as 83 percent compared to having a level below 20 ng/mL.18

For general health, 40 ng/mL appears to be the absolute lowest cutoff point, but most cancers still appear to occur in those with a vitamin D blood level between 10 and 40 ng/mL,19 so shooting a bit higher appears prudent.

Regular, sensible sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D status, but many will need to take an oral vitamin D3 supplement, especially during winter months. The only way to gauge whether you might need to supplement is to get your level tested, ideally twice a year, in the summer and winter when your level is at its peak and low point.

Grassroots Health offers vitamin D testing at a great value through its D*Action study. Also consider eating more vitamin D containing foods, such as beef liver, mushrooms, organic free-range egg yolks, cod liver oil, caviar (fish roe) and fatty fish such as wild Alaskan salmon, mackerel and sardines.20

Other Strategies That Can Improve IBS Symptoms

Aside from cleaning up your diet and optimizing your vitamin D, the following strategies may also help improve your IBS symptoms:

Get checked for parasites. To make sure you’re not struggling with a physical condition that could be simulating IBS, have your stool checked for parasites. Some parasites, such as giardia, can sometimes be a contributing factor that needs to be treated.

Boost healthy bacteria in your gut. Lowering the amounts of sugar and processed foods in your diet will automatically create a milieu that will support the growth of good bacteria, but you can further enhance that process by eating fermented foods and/or taking a high quality probiotic supplement.

Boost your fiber intake. Taking additional fiber can also be very helpful to control IBS symptoms such as constipation and diarrhea. Fiber such as organic psyllium tends to be particularly helpful, and is my personal favorite. Psyllium is adaptogenic, meaning if you’re constipated it will soften your stool and help increase your bowel frequency, and if you have loose stools and frequent bowel movements, it will help with stool formation and decrease the frequency of bowel movements.

If you decide to use psyllium, make sure it is organic as the risks of pesticide residue in nonorganic products far outweigh the benefit you would receive from the fiber itself. Another good fiber source is whole, organic flaxseed. You can take few tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed per day, or better yet, soak the organic flax seeds overnight and put them in your smoothie.

Address emotional challenges. Last but certainly not least, many IBS sufferers tend to have an unresolved emotional component that contributes to their physical problem. This is one of the reasons antidepressants are frequently prescribed. Meditation, prayer and psychological techniques and tools like the Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT are all strategies you can use to effectively address emotional challenges.


Breakfast, blood sugar, & inflammation

Recent research has shown that Inflammation is responsible for 7 out of 10 Deaths in the United States. But it doesn’t have to be the same way for you.

In fact, in a fairly short amount of time, you could start to experience better sleep…less stomach issues…more energy and stamina…less muscle and joint pain…a drop in weight…lower stress levels…and much, much more!

Learn how to Prevent—Even Reverse—Most Major Diseases by “Turning Off” Inflammation!

==> Naturally Fight & Reverse Damaging Inflammatory Effects in Your Body!

Best stretch before bed (1 minute)

Did you know that one of the best times to stretch is right before bed? However…

What stretches should you do? Here’s a 1-minute stretch routine you can do before bed...

=> Best stretch before bed (takes 1-min)


Lisa, Yoga Coach
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

Stop Snoring in 3 Minutes - Starting Tonight

...easy, 3-minute exercise that completely cured his horrendous snoring! We can both finally sleep!

Today is a good day. Tonight will be even better. Why?

Because you're about to learn easy throat exercises that cure (not just treated) your stubborn snoring – in 3 minutes – starting TONIGHT!

...even if straps, sprays and even torturing CPAP masks have failed you in the past.

Most people heal their snoring in just a few minutes per day using these powerful throat exercises. And they're so easy, you can do them, regardless of your age or physical shape.

Use them anytimeanywhere... even while stuck in traffic or watching TV.

Plus the results are permanent!

To learn more and test-drive the easy snoring and sleep apnea exercises for yourself, click here...

To a good night's sleep,
Rick + Lisa
eatlocalgrown / wisemindhealthybody

The #1 "bodyfat-eating" hormone...

weight loss solved

Did you know that your bodyfat can become "calorie-resistant"?

True. And it's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.

However, there's good news- Calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...

It's a little-known, calorie-burning hormone we all have... just waiting for the right spark to come alive. It's not thyroid, leptin, ghrelin, insulin, adiponectin, HGH or any other "fat loss" hormone you may know. Read more to find out precisely how to unleash its calorie-burning power:

==> How to Activate Your #1 "Bodyfat-Eating" Hormone...

To your health!

PS - Studies show that it can also reduce your risk of diabetes by 53.7%, a heart attack by 83.3% and stroke by 51.4%. Here's more of the scientific proof...

#1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat. This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.

Is it…

a) Abs

b) Chest

c) Glutes

d) Hip Flexors

Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!

How to Wipe Out Chronic Inflammation (Free Book)


In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.

See, every year 610,000 people in the U.S. die of heart disease. Cancer claims another 584,000...stroke 130,000...Alzheimer's disease nearly 85,000 — and the list goes on.

Truth is, we now know... chronic inflammation is responsible for 7 out of the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States! Hundreds of studies and scientific reviews prove it.

inflammation book

Fortunately, newer research shows you can prevent-even reverse-most major diseases by "turning off" inflammation. And in our new book, we show you how to do just that.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a debilitating condition-and you"re not sure what the culprit is-now's the time to find out...while you can still do something about it!

Get the Free Inflammation Book

--> Grab your FREE copy of this groundbreaking soft cover book today (while supplies still last.)

Free Paleo / Keto Cookbook

Over the past year, my friend Dave over at PaleoHacks has been working on a super secret cookbook project with our good friend Peter Servold ­­ a Le Cordon Bleu trained Chef and owner of Pete's Paleo...

And today, this new incredible Paleo Cookbook is finally available to be shipped right to your door for FREE!

paleohack chart

The cookbook is called Paleo Eats, and it's filled with over 80 chef ­created, insanely tasty Paleo recipes ­­ which means they are free from gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar.

Get your FREE copy of Paleo Eats Here. (Grab this today, because they only ordered a small batch of these cookbooks for this freebie promotion, and they will sell out FAST!)

>> Get The Free Cookbook


Sponsored Health Resources

In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.

NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!

1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…

--> "Red" Smoothie Helps Alabama Girl Shed 80lbs!

2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.

--> Get the 1 Day Cleanse (better than 7-day detoxes!)

3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.

--> #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat

4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!

--> Your Birth Date + Name - Free Report

5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!

--> The best way to get maximum effects of Turmeric

6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.

--> Why Some People LOOK Fat that Aren't

7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.

-->  Unlock Your Hip Flexors

Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.

Rick D.