Revealed: The secret connection between Vitamin D and gut bacteria

Washington: The Researchers and collaborators at the University of California, San Diego recently demonstrated that in older men the levels of active Vitamin D are linked to that person's gut microbiome, which is crucial for immunity and bone health.

A new understanding of Vitamin D and how it's usually measured was also revealed by the study in Nature Communications. Out of the several different forms of Vitamin D, standard blood tests can only detect one amongst them, an inactive precursor that can be stored by the body. The body must metabolise the precursor in an active form in order to utilise Vitamin D.

The senior author Deborah Kado, MD, Director of the Osteoporosis at UC San Diego Health said, "We were surprised to find that microbiome diversity the variety of bacteria types in a person's gut was closely associated with active Vitamin D, but not the precursor form.” He further added, "Greater gut microbiome diversity is thought to be associated with better health in general."

The study for the National Institute on Aging Aging-funded Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (Mros) Study Research Group, a large multi-site effort that started in 2000 was led by Kado. Deborah Kado teamed up with Rob Knight, Rob Knight, PhD, professor and director of the Centre for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego, and co-first authors Serene Lingjing Jiang, a graduate student in the Biostatistics Program at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Sciences, and Robert L. Thomas, MD, PhD, a fellow in the Division of Endocrinology at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

Individuals with low levels of Vitamin D are at a higher risk for heart disease, cancer, and even COVID-19 infections among other diseases, as suggested by multiple reports.

Yet the biggest clinical trial conducted till date with more than 25,000 adults, concluded that Vitamin D supplements have no impact on health-related outcomes, including cancer, heart disease, or even bone health.

Kado, who is also a professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health said: "Our study suggests that might be because these studies measured only the precursor form of Vitamin D, rather than active hormone".

Kado further added, "Measures of Vitamin D formation and breakdown may be better indicators of underlying health issues, and who might best respond to vitamin D supplementation."

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

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