New research suggests that the daily supplementation of a probiotic may boost vitamin D levels circulating in the blood by 25%. Vitamin D, known as the 'sunshine' vitamin, is responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphate, which keep bones and teeth healthy.

A deficiency of vitamin D can cause rickets and other musculoskeletal diseases, but recent research also links vitamin D deficiency to some forms of cancer, autoimmune and infectious diseases, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. This research has shown a positive correlation to public awareness of the health benefits of vitamin D, as many recent consumer surveys show vitamin D is consistently in the top five most popular supplements.

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Above: Most of the vitamin D we absorb is obtained from the sun

The new study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism is the first of its kind to show a link between the supplementation of a probiotic and levels of vitamin D. The study's lead author, Dr Mitchell Jones, commented:

"Although it has long been known that the gastrointestinal tract plays an active role in the absorption of vitamin D, these findings showing improved vitamin D status in response to an orally delivered probiotic are a first, and will inform the development of new products that may be beneficial for people with low vitamin D levels."

The double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, parallel-arm, multi-centre trial involved 127 adult participants, who were randomly assigned to either a placebo or the L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 probiotic strain for nine weeks. The results showed that the probiotic group showed significantly higher levels of vitamin D in the blood stream.

Researchers also surmised that if the probiotic strain was administered alongside a vitamin D supplement, they would see even greater increases in absorption levels. The researchers concluded, "In short, we believe it is possible that more vitamin D is being absorbed."

Read more about probiotics and vitamins here.

Reference: Jones, M. et al (2013) Oral supplementation with probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 increases mean circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D: a post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Published online ahead of print.

Image source: www.gohawaii.com


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