Nutrition and Healing
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  • Bask in the sunshine to soothe your gut

    When you’ve got irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), getting out the door each morning can be a non-starter.

    Between your dietary restrictions… painful cramps… and the urge to dash to the toilet… it probably feels safer to stick close to home.

    But if you stay inside all day, you could be missing out on something essential to your health that may make you feel a whole lot better.

    I’m talking about sunshine!

    Because according to the latest research, the vitamin D that your body makes when those UV rays hit your skin could calm the tumult in your gut.

    In the meta-analysis out of the UK, researchers reviewed all of the available studies to date on the role of vitamin D in IBS and came to a couple of important conclusions.

    First off, many of the studies found that a substantial portion of those with IBS — up to a whopping 82 percent — are deficient in vitamin D.

    Now, they didn’t necessarily determine whether that vitamin D deficiency causes IBS… or if the lifestyle associated with IBS (i.e. spending a lot of time indoors) leads to a lack of the “sunshine” vitamin.

    But the remaining studies in the new meta-analysis shed some “light” on the issue — because
    IBS patients who supplemented their diets with vitamin D consistently had less severe symptoms AND reported a better quality of life than those who didn’t up their intake of D.

    Of course, further research is needed to determine exactly how the two are linked, but we do know that vitamin D reduces inflammation and boosts your immune system and mood.

    And everything from compromised immunity to anxiety can trigger IBS flare-ups.

    We also know that those who lack enough D are at a greater risk of developing other gut diseases — including colorectal cancer and inflammatory bowel disease — so it’s clear that this vitamin is somehow vital to the health of your innards.

    Translation: If you want to spend less of your life locked inside the restroom, step into the sunshine!

    If you live somewhere sunny, you can get all the vitamin D you need simply by spending 20 to 30 minutes outside each day with your head and arms exposed.

    But if you live in a colder climate like I do, you can up your levels by eating D-rich foods like wild-caught fish, beef liver, egg yolks, and mushrooms.

    Either way, adding a D supplement to your daily routine is a good idea — because as we age, it can be harder for your body to absorb vitamin D from both food AND sunlight.

    What’s more, getting enough of this hero vitamin can also protect you from the flu… keep your bones healthy and strong… and slash your risk of diabetes.

    Later today, I’ll share something else this miracle vitamin can do — and it’s something that can save your life. Stay tuned for the next edition of eTips.

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