Trivialized by many doctors and dismissively labeled a psychosomatic disorder, patients often suffer debilitating symptoms for years without any root cause ever being found.
Now, however, two new
systematic reviews and meta-analyses suggest that
vitamin D deficiency is associated
with the problem and that supplementation can improve patients'
quality of life.
While some patients manage to control their symptoms through experimenting with different dietary approaches, for many the disorder has a significant impact on their quality of life and impairs their ability to work and engage in normal daily activities.
Given the continued
failure of conventional medicine to successfully diagnose the root
cause of IBS, the publication of these new systematic reviews and
meta-analyses could potentially represent an important development
in its prevention and treatment.
Significantly, they show
that vitamin D deficiency is associated with the pathogenesis of the
disorder and that patients receiving supplements had greater
improvement than those given placebos.
After evaluating the trials, the researchers found that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for IBS and that serum levels of vitamin D in patients suffering from the condition are significantly lower than those of normal people.
The paper concludes that
supplementation can improve the quality of life of IBS patients.
In two of them, a dose of 50,000 IU of vitamin D was given fortnightly; one trial gave this dose for 6 weeks, the other for 6 months.
The other two trials examined were based on a vitamin D dose of 50,000 IU given weekly for a period of 9 weeks, and a dose of 2000 IU given daily for a period of 6 months, respectively.
No adverse effects from the dosages used were reported in any of the trials. Moreover, the researchers found that vitamin D supplementation showed protective effects both on the symptoms and the quality of life for patients with IBS.
Noting that vitamin D is
inexpensive and safe, they concluded that it may represent a useful
and practical approach to treating the condition.
Given the proven effectiveness of vitamin D supplements in improving patients' quality of life, as demonstrated in the two new systematic reviews and meta-analyses, the evidence is growing that,