Gut Health & Vitamin D: The Connection
Gut health and vitamin D are both incredibly important to your health because they greatly impact the quality of your immune system.
Strong immunity is important for protecting you from every day ailments, serious viruses and also chronic disease, so it's vital to understand a little about why gut health and vitamin D hold the key.
Keep reading to find out exactly how gut health and vitamin D are linked, and how you can improve your gut health and boost your vitamin D to take control of your health in a natural and holistic way.
1. What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D might seem like a random, innocuous vitamin, but it’s actually one of the more important ones to your health.
In fact, Vitamin D is known to protect against many cancers, including prostate, skin, lung and colon cancer.
Vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” because the sun produces it from ultraviolet rays. By exposing our skin to sunshine for extended periods of time, we can help our bodies manufacture the vitamin in a healthy, natural way. But the secret is to expose as much of your skin as possible to sunlight - for short periods of time regularly - to get the maximum infusion of nutrients into your liver and cells.
A deficiency of vitamin D can not only rob you of protection from several deadly cancers, but it can also lead to symptoms like tooth decay, softening of bones, improper healing of fractures, muscular weakness, lack of vigour, inadequate absorption of calcium and retention of phosphorus in the kidneys.
It’s clear that getting enough vitamin D is important for your overall health and wellness, but new research is showing the important link between sunlight derived Vitamin D and the epicentre of your immune system - your gut.
2. Link to Gut Health
You could be getting plenty of vitamin D from the sun, but how your body absorbs it is important too.
New research and studies are showing that the bacterial balance in the gut is closely linked to vitamin D absorption. This shouldn’t come as a complete surprise, considering how important gut health is for your overall health and wellness. But these findings are significant, because it means that an unhealthy gut, could impact your absorption of vitamin D and your body’s ability to turn that into active vitamin D.
So the bottom line is that a healthy gut will improve your body’s ability to actually use the vitamin D you receive from sunlight. In other words, for really robust health, vitality and strong immunity, you should be paying attention to not just your exposure to sunlight, but your gut health as well.
2. Improving Gut Health
Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract harbours a complex and dynamic population of microorganisms, known as the gut microbiota. When the colonies of 'good' bacteria (known as flora) outweigh the bad, this is known to have a significant influence on the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and avoid disease.
In other words, a healthy gut has a ripple effect on your ability to experience a healthy, happy life. So, how exactly do you improve it?
Steps to boost your gut health:
- Add fermented foods to your diet regularly as they contain pre biotics which cultivate good bacteria in the gut. Examples include; pickles, olives, sauerkraut, miso, tofu, tempeh, sourdough bread, kombucha etc. If you have no problems with dairy, then organic yogurt, soft cheeses (without animal rennet) and kefir are also great additions
- Add more raw plant food into your diet - the more plants you eat, the more nourishment you will provide to the healthy bacteria in your gut, helping them to proliferate. At snack time, make raw fruit, nuts, veggies and Pulse Sacred Meal a part of your routine
- Slow down on the caffeine, alcohol, soda, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners as they upset a healthy gut balance and avoid smoking completely
- Consume cold-pressed plant oils like extra virgin olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil and flax seed oil to your smoothies and raw salads
- Get outside and exercise for 30-45 minutes minimum per day
- Get more sleep and reduce chronic stress.
Improving your gut health can take some time, depending on your lifestyle, but it’s well worth the effort considering it can impact everything from your immune system to your moods.
You’ll also notice better digestion, less bloating, improved wellness, a stronger immune system, better moods, more focus and so much more.
Learn more in Top Threats to Gut Health 7 What You Can Do About It.
4. Increasing Vitamin D Intake
Getting enough vitamin D is something you need to pay attention to because it's tough to get enough through the diet alone. Also, if you spend a lot of time in doors or in any area that doesn't see the sun often, chances are you're not getting the Vitamin D your body needs.
Supplements should be avoided as they can increase toxicity in the body which is not helpful for boosting immunity.
Some of the best foods for boosting vitamin D include:
- Brussel Sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- Turnip greens
- Collard greens and chard
Try to dedicate at least 20 minutes per day to get out into the sun. Morning is best because you can benefit from the sun's nutrients before its intensity increases later in the day.
Expose as much of your body as possible to the sunlight. If you're going to be out in the sun for long periods of time, be sure to use an organic tox-free product or opt for our handcrafted Sun Loves Me Chemical-Free Sunscreen.
If you can't dedicate a specific amount of sunshine time regularly in your day, here are some tips that can help:
- Park further from your destination on sunny days and walk
- Exercise outside in the morning rather than inside the gym
- Walk your dog to the park
- Take a morning tea break outside in the sun
- Have outdoor meetings in the morning in sunlight
- Any hobby that can be done outside, do it outdoors as often as possible. Eg. yoga, reading, gardening, drawing, etc.
Vitamin D is also essential for your body to absorb calcium in the gastrointestinal tract. By increasing your intake of vitamin D , you can also help your body absorb more calcium, which is particularly important as you age and your bones get weaker and your body naturally absorbs less vitamins and nutrients.
Learn more in 7 Key Reasons Why You Need Sunlight.
It’s becoming more and more clear just how important a healthy gut is for strong immunity. We also know that it helps protect against many cancers and dis-eases and can greatly affect your moods and alleviate depression and so much more. Now we know that it can also affect how well your body absorbs vitamin D from the sun.
Vitamin D is indisputably important to your health and wellbeing, but most people are deficient because they simply don't get enough natural sunshine.
By working simultaneously to improve your gut health and sensibly boost your exposure to sunlight, you will see significant improvements to your overall health and resistance to sickness moving forward.
When we treat our health holistically and know that everything impacts everything else, we become much healthier and stronger as a result, and the connection between gut health and vitamin D shows exactly that.
Tolman Self Care.