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Sunlight and your gut – what’s the connection?

Our bodies produce vitamin D on exposure to UV light. When people get less UV exposure, due to living at higher latitudes where there is less sunshine, or for other reasons, they are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, and at higher risk of developing a range of diseases, including multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. Canadian researchers recently looked at the connection between our gut microbiome and vitamin D.

The researchers looked at two groups: one had taken vitamin D supplements for three months, while the others had not. All but one of the group that did not take the supplements were deficient in vitamin D.

Both groups were then given three sessions of full body UVB light exposure, which raisdd the levels of vitamin D in both groups.

The group that had not taken supplements had a less diverse and balanced gut microbiome to begin with, but after the UV sessions, their microbiomes were indistinguishable from the group that had taken supplements. The changes were noticeable in one week.

The researchers say their experiment shows that vitamin D was the main driver in the shift in the microbiome of the test subjects, underlining how important the vitamin is in our overall health.

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