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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Nutrition Knowledge – Shine the light for our gut


Regular readers of my column know how much I stress the importance of Vitamin D for our immune system and subsequently our overall health. New studies have recently looked further into the gut microbiota changes that occur with exposure to sunlight and also supplementation of Vitamin D. Because our innate and adaptive immune cells are influenced by vitamin D, keeping inflammation suppressed, it is imperative that we have sufficient levels.

Sunlight is the best way to achieve optimal vitamin D status, because when our body synthesizes vitamin D from sun exposure, it also synthesizes many other beneficial factors. The best time to get sun exposure is mid-day, but do not allow yourself to burn. Build up your sun exposure over time so that your skin will not burn but will look healthy. This should be without sunscreen for that short period of time unless you feel your skin starting to get “pink” or “warm.” Then immediately cover up or put on a good mineral sunscreen, not chemical.

The gut improvements from UVB exposure include a more diverse and balanced gut microbiome, including one highly beneficial group Lachnospiraceae, which has been reported to be associated with improved health status versus the microbiome of individuals with various inflammatory diseases.

While sunlight is the best because of all the diverse benefits, in the northern climates we find it hard to get daily quality sunlight as the fall and winter months come. Vitamin D supplementation also is helpful to our gut microbiome, if somewhat less than the sun exposure. By including other anti-inflammatory factors in our health plan, such as good quality natural fruits and veggies, reduced stress and good sleep, we can keep our gut microbiome diverse and healthy, keeping us healthy overall.

Patty Minta, RD, LDN
Patty Minta, RD, LDNhttps://nourishednestedandblessed.com/
Patty Minta is a Registered & Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist. Visit her website for links, nutrition info and tips at www.nourishednestedandblessed.com.