Taking a probiotic supplement can boost levels of vitamin D, a new study shows.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, is the first to indicate an oral probiotic supplement — of Lactobacillus reuteri NCIMB 30242 — can significantly increase circulating blood levels of vitamin D, which is essential to bone health and has other benefits.
"This study, part of an ongoing line of research in bile metabolism and Western disease, is adding to the body of knowledge on the microbiome and its role in human health," said lead researcher Mitchell Jones, M.D., who was honored for his work on probiotics at the recent Science of Translation conference in New York City.
"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."
Jones’ conclusions are based on an analysis of the effect of probiotics on circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels by over a nine-week period.
Jones noted more than 40 million adults in the United States have or are at risk of developing osteoporosis, associated with inadequate calcium and vitamin D. In addition to boosting bone health, vitamin D is being studied for other possible health effects, such as protection against heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes.
The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 IUs of vitamin D daily, with the primary sources including sun exposure, foods that contain it, and supplements.
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