The sunshine vitamin has unthinkable roles in our lives, from making us happier to healthier.
Trials have shown that ultraviolet (UV) light exposure modifies the gut microbiome. Did you spend enough time under the sun this summer? If not, read below some possible consequences suffered by your gut.
A growing body of evidence draws multiple connections between insufficient vitamin D and a long list of conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. The most vulnerable categories are people living at high latitudes, where UV light can’t reach all year round.
A team of scientists, many of them from the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, assumed the mission to answer the question:
How UV light Affects Gut Bacteria?
The experiment was composed of 21 fair-skinned female volunteers to measure the effects of UVB exposure on the good and bad bacteria in their gut. The first group was made up of nine women that took D vitamins in the three months leading up to the trials, while the other group was D vitamin deficient.
After three sessions of UVB exposure, the women lacking vitamin D achieved the same level of vitamin D as the ones that took supplements for months. The results appeared in ‘Frontiers in Microbiology,’ the leading journal in its field.
Prof. Bruce Vallance, the senior study author, states that before the UVB exposure, the women lacking vitamin D had a ‘less diverse and balance’ microbial bacteria. However, the scientists noticed a boost of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria and a drop in Bacteroidetes number.
UVB exposure boosted the richness and evenness of their microbiome to levels indistinguishable from the supplemented group, whose microbiome was not significantly changed.
While it is not clear how much time we should be spending in the sun to collect the perfect supply of vitamin D, one thing is sure: vitamin D is the only one able to have a lasting positive impact on our microbiome.