“The vitamin D pathway is important in the regulation of immune responses and gut health. There are different genes regulated by the vitamin D receptor that can affect the integrity of the gut barrier and the immune defenses in the gut. With deficiency of vitamin D, one could hypothesize that changes in these aspects of the gut could lead to changes in the composition of the microbiota,”* says Adrian F. Gombart, Ph.D., a professor of biochemistry at Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute.
A healthy gut deserves the hype, too. A diverse gut microbiome, which is a key indicator of a healthy gastrointestinal tract, protects against unwelcome invaders, helps to optimize the extraction of nutrients and energy, and contributes to healthy immune function. Yes, it means better digestion but also better mood and cognition and much more.
And it’s a two-way street. Not only does vitamin D influence the gut, but the gut also influences vitamin D—particularly, how well it’s absorbed.* Previously thought to be a passive process, research suggests the absorption of vitamin D is affected by the upper digestive tract and proteins in the intestinal membrane. In other words, a healthier gut is able to absorb vitamin D more effectively. (That, and throwing some healthy fats in the mix.)
But there is much more room for understanding. According to Gombart, this is an emerging area of research, and further studies will allow for a better and deeper knowledge of this important interaction.
A vast number of American adults (93%, to be specific) aren’t consuming enough vitamin D daily. Because numerous factors affect the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D in the skin during exposure to sunlight, diet and high-quality supplementation are key to achieving optimal vitamin D status (and even diet isn’t the most efficient way to get enough D—more on that later).*
Other modest sources of D include a list of animal products (like cod liver oil and eggs) and fortified foods like milk, O.J., and cereal. These are all fine, but the problem comes when you consider how much of those food items you actually need to consume for an optimal dose of 5,000 IU or more a day. According to mbg’s director of scientific affairs, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, that shakes out to 294 cubes of Cheddar cheese or 7 cups of irradiated mushrooms every single day. (Yikes!)
Unless you want to live on cubed cheese for the rest of your life, you might want to opt for an efficacious supplement that can do the trick—like mbg’s vitamin D3 potency+, which provides 5,000 IU of sustainable D3 derived from organic algae and organic olive, avocado, and flaxseed oils for optimal absorption, all in just one gelcap a day.*
This content was originally published here.