Vitamin D status and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome Original paper

In this cross-sectional study, vitamin D status was not associated with irritable bowel syndrome activity.

This Study Summary was published on January 31 2023.

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by fecal urgency, abdominal distress, gas, and bloating. Although the cause of IBS is not fully understood, intestinal damage and inflammatory disturbances have been proposed as contributing factors.

Vitamin D is involved in several processes relevant to IBS, such as immune function and regulation of calcium absorption in the intestines. Some studies have indicated that low vitamin D levels are common among people with IBS, but more research was needed to determine whether vitamin D status is associated with symptom severity.

The study

This cross-sectional study evaluated vitamin D status and IBS symptoms among 230 adults in Lebanon. The participants were recruited through a community announcement, and an IBS diagnosis was not required for participation.

The validated Birmingham IBS symptom questionnaire was used to determine overall IBS symptom scores, along with subscales for pain, constipation, and diarrhea. Blood samples were collected to determine vitamin D status.

The results

Serum vitamin D status was not associated with overall IBS scores or with any subscale of disease activity in this cohort.


The authors of this study cautioned that the cross-sectional study design does not allow for causal inferences and stated the need for further research. They also noted that the majority of the participants were deficient in vitamin D, which may have led to underestimation of the associations.

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This Study Summary was published on January 31 2023.