Study: Children with IBS found to be deficient in vitamin D

Image: Study: Children with IBS found to be deficient in vitamin D

As many as one in six children suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and its uncomfortable symptoms, including cramps, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. However, it appears that many children with IBS are also deficient in vitamin D.

A study published in PLOS ONE revealed that more than 90 percent of children with IBS lack vitamin D.

Being deficient in vitamin D likewise increases their risk for decreased bone mass, as having adequate vitamin D levels is important for the growth and development of bones of children.

In the study, the researchers analyzed the medical records of 55 children with IBS and compared their data to 116 healthy controls. The results revealed that one out of every two children with IBS is deficient in vitamin D compared to one out of every four healthy children and adolescents without IBS.

The study further looked into the association between vitamin D status and the presence of anxiety, depression, and migraine headaches that often come with IBS. Patients with IBS and migraine had significantly lower vitamin D levels compared to controls, which suggests that supplementing with Vitamin D might improve their headache symptoms.

With these findings, the researchers recommend pediatric IBS patients to monitor their vitamin D status and supplement with vitamin D if they are deficient in the vitamin.

More on vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is one of the building blocks of bone. Vitamin D also plays a role in the nervous, muscle, and immune systems. There are three ways to get vitamin D: through the skin, from food, and from supplements. Foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver, raw cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolks. After being exposed to sunlight, the body naturally produces vitamin D. However, too much exposure to the sun can result in skin aging and skin cancer, which is why many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources.

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The amount of vitamin D a person needs every day depends on their age. The recommended amounts of vitamin D are the following:

  • Birth to 12 months: 400 international units (IU)
  • Children 1 to 13 years: 600 IU
  • Teens 14 to 18 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 19 to 70 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU

Unfortunately, many are deficient in vitamin D. In the U.S. alone, approximately 42 percent of the population is vitamin D deficient. People can become deficient in vitamin D for various reasons. Some may not get enough vitamin D in their diet or have a malabsorption problem, in which they could not absorb enough vitamin D from food, while others may not get enough sunlight exposure. Some people may also have problems with their liver or kidneys that these organs cannot convert vitamin D to its active form in the body. Taking certain medicines can also interrupt the body’s ability to covert or absorb vitamin D. (Related: Vitamin D deficiency is widespread among U.S. population, expectant mothers are deficient and giving birth to deficient infants.)

As mentioned earlier, vitamin D is important for bone growth and development. Severe vitamin D deficiency can result in bone density loss, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures. Vitamin D deficiency can also result in many other diseases. In children, it can cause rickets, which is a rare condition that causes the bones to become soft and bend. In adults, it can result in osteomalacia, which causes weak bones, bone pain, and muscle weakness.

Read more news stories and studies on the importance of vitamin D by going to

Sources include:

Migraines May Signal Vitamin Deficiency; What You Should Eat To Fortify Yourself Against Headaches

Migraines symptoms strike like lightening in the heads of 38 million men, women, and children in America. The causes can be mysterious. But recent research presented at the 58th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society revealed that screening for vitamin deficiencies may be the key to unlock a quieter, calmer brain. Migraines can be debilitating. Every 10 seconds someone in the United States goes to the emergency room because of throbbing head pain, adding up to 1.2 million visits a day. When researchers tested 7,691 patients for vitamin deficiencies, they found those who suffered from frequent migraines were significantly more likely to have low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B2, folate, and co-enzyme Q10. Because each vitamin plays an integral role in producing energy in cells, researchers theorize that not getting enough needed vitamins could trigger a migraine, prompting the brain for help. Migraine “Further studies are needed to elucidate whether vitamin supplementation is effective in migraine patients in general, and whether patients with mild deficiency are more likely to benefit from supplementation,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Suzanne Hagler, a research fellow at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in a statement.   Previously, a 2012 study linked magnesium deficiency to migraine. Those who suffer from migraines regularly have been found to have low levels of magnesium compared to those who don’t experience any migraines or headaches at all. Since then, doctors have recommended combining magnesium with a multivitamin when migraine symptoms first appear. These new findings may add to the list of necessary vitamins. It’s difficult to consume all of the dietary vitamins necessary to keep their body running efficiently, which is why many people turn to vitamin supplements for help. However, it’s best to try to weave in vitamin-rich food items in order to help stave off looming migraines. According to The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is plentiful in salmon, tuna, swordfish, and also cheese and eggs. But the best options to turn to are either milk or orange juice fortified with vitamin D. Vitamin deficiencies could be the reason behind why millions of people suffer from migraines.Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain When it comes to vitamin B2, soybeans, spinach, turkey, almonds, and yogurt are ideal foods to incorporate into the diet. Folate is also found in many dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach, along with chickpeas, beans, and lentils. Co-enzyme Q10 can also be found in broccoli, dark leafy greens, but also nuts, fish, shellfish, pork, chicken, and beef. Lastly, for a boost of magnesium, eat almonds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, bananas, cashews, and flaxseed, and drink milk.

This Vitamin Deficiency Can Cause Migraines

More than 300 million people worldwide — about 6 to 7 percent of men and 15 to 18 percent of women — suffer from migraine headaches, which can last anywhere from a few hours to three days. An estimated 20 million migraine attacks occur every single day.

Despite that, it’s still one of the least understood and poorly treated medical disorders, as they are likely due to a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors that vary from person to person.

Adding to the complexity is that the experiences of those suffering from migraines also vary greatly. Aside from throbbing, searing pain, which may or may not be one-sided, some experience “auras” prior to onset, while others do not. Other symptoms that may or may not be present include nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, sweating, and/or sensitivity to light, sound, and smells.

What Causes Migraines?

There are a number of different theories about the cause of migraines, but no one hypothesis can explain the occurrence of migraines in all sufferers. These (sometimes conflicting) theories include:

Changes in your brain chemical serotonin. When levels drop, blood vessels including those in your brain become swollen and inflamed, which can lead to migraine pain.

-Vascular constriction in your brain; from initial blood vessel constriction and a drop in blood flow, followed by dilation and stretching of blood vessels, which activates pain-signaling neurons.

-Excessive increase of blood flow in your brain. In direct contrast to the preceding theory, other research has found that migraines are not preceded by constriction and decrease in blood flow, but rather by an increase of nearly 300 percent. However, circulation then appears normal, or even slightly reduced, once the attack is in full swing.

-A neurological disorder related to nerve cell activity that sweeps across your brain, causing pain. In this case, it is thought that a wave release of neurotransmitters across your cortex can directly stimulate your trigeminal nerves, setting off the chain reaction that ends in the transmitting of pain signals.

-A nervous system disorder originating in your brain stem. Your brain stem is your control center for alertness, perception of light, noise and smell, cerebral blood flow, cardiovascular function and pain sensitivity — many, if not most, of which are part of the symptoms of a migraine attack.

Research has revealed that three clusters of cells in your brain stem are active during and after migraine. According to this hypothesis, abnormal activity in those cells could induce the sensation of pain, even when there are no pain signals being received from your brain membrane or blood vessels.

-A disruption of the subtle energies circulating throughout your body, along with unresolved emotional issues that manifest in your body as headaches.

-Mutation or dysfunction of certain genes.

Are Your Migraines Due to a Vitamin Deficiency?

In this latest study, vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid supplements were found to produce a two-fold reduction in migraines over a six-month period. Previous studies, such as a 2004 study in the European Journal of Neurology, have also reported that high doses of B2 (riboflavin) can help prevent migraine attacks.

Certain gene mutations and dysfunctions can lead to higher levels of homocysteine production, which can make you more susceptible to migraine attacks. Here they found that vitamins B6 and B12 work by reducing your homocysteine levels. They also discovered that depending on your genotype, you may need a higher or lower dose in order for it to work. Said Professor Lyn Griffiths:

“… if all patients received the same vitamin dosage for the same period of time it would be expected that those with TT genotypes, having a reduced enzymatic rate, would metabolise less homocysteine over the treatment period compared to C allele carriers, thus resulting in a smaller reduction in homocysteine and consequent migraine symptoms. 

Indeed, it may be that TT genotypes although having a higher risk of disease actually require a larger dosage of vitamins to exhibit the same effect as C alleles. Further clinical trials of much larger patient cohorts are required to test this hypothesis.”

According to Professor Griffiths, their aim is to determine the optimal dosage of B vitamins based on your genetic profile.

“The success of our trial has shown that safe, inexpensive vitamin supplements can treat migraine patients,” she said.

However, there may be yet another, even more widespread, vitamin deficiency underlying your migraine symptoms.

Just last year, researchers presented results of an observational study at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Headache Society, showing that nearly 42 percent of patients with chronic migraine were deficient in vitamin D. The study also showed that the longer you suffered from chronic migraines, the more likely you are to be vitamin D deficient.

This is yet another brand new discovery that can be tacked on to the literally hundreds of health ramifications of being vitamin D deficient.

For more information on getting tested, and how to optimize your vitamin D levels, please see this previous article. I also recommend you take the time to view my free one-hour video lecture on vitamin D, in which I go over the nearly unbelievable benefits you will receive by understanding this essential nutrient.

Common Migraine Triggers to Avoid

However, it is important for everyone to fully appreciate that treating migraines by using a simple remedy is rarely effective. So while using supplements like these B vitamins might be useful, this is still an allopathic approach that is very similar to using medications.

It is my belief that pain can be one of your strongest allies if you use it to help you to find what is truly contributing to the cause of the problem.

Just as there are numerous theories on the actual mechanics of migraine pain, there are a wide number of potential triggers — and what triggers a migraine for you might not trigger it in someone else. So rather than just popping some B vitamins you will want to consider a more comprehensive strategy.

However, here are several of the most commonly reported triggers:

-Food and Drink: Many people experience migraines when they eat certain foods, especially wheat, dairy (especially pasteurized), sugar, artificial preservatives or chemical additives. Cured or processed meats, alcohol, aspartame, caffeine, and MSG are common culprits.

-Allergies: Including food allergies and food sensitivities, and chemical sensitivities.

-Dehydration and/or Hunger

-Changes in sleeping cycle: Both missing sleep and oversleeping can trigger a migraine.

-Stress: Any kind of emotional trauma can trigger a migraine, even after the stress has passed.

-Physical exertion: Extremely intense exercise or even sex has been known to bring on migraines.

-Hormones: Some women experience migraines before, or during their periods, during pregnancy, or during menopause. Others may get migraines from hormonal medications like birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy.

-External stimuli: Bright lights, fluorescent lights, loud noises and strong smells (even pleasant ones) can trigger a migraine.

-Weather changes, seasonal changes, and changes in altitude 


How to Relieve Migraine Pain Without Dangerous Drugs

Migraine pain can be seriously debilitating and may be one instance where you could justify popping a pill for instant relief. Unfortunately, migraine medications tend to only work in 50 percent of people, half the time…

They also have intense side effects such as “medication overuse headache,” which often occurs when people take too much of a headache drug. Worse than that, if you take tryptamine-based drugs, which bind to serotonin receptors to constrict your cranial blood vessels, but your pain is not due to engorged blood vessels, then constricting them can potentially do a lot of harm. And, lo and behold, serious cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke, are in fact side effects of these types of drugs.

Fortunately, there are better ways to treat migraines than pharmaceutical drugs.

First, you’ll want to make sure you avoid the triggers.

Most often this means eating healthy whole foods and avoiding processed ones. Avoiding wheat, grains, sugar and all fluids but water also seem to be particularly effective. In fact, following my eating plan typically reduces migraines by about 80 percent, as it virtually eliminates all common food-related causes of headaches.

Regular exercise will also help to keep migraines away by improving your response to stress, along with the underlying inflammatory conditions that can trigger migraines.

Those are the lifestyle choices that you’ll need to focus on long-term, if you want to reduce your migraines. But if a migraine does strike and you need immediate relief, here are a several safe, healthy alternatives that you can try:

1.    Use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Newcomers who use this simple process by themselves achieve relief 50 percent to 80 percent of the time and, in many cases, the relief is complete and permanent. More sophisticated uses by an EFT expert may be required for some migraine sufferers.

2.    Stimulate your body’s natural painkilling ability. By putting pressure on a nerve just under your eyebrow, you can cause your pituitary gland to release painkilling endorphins immediately.

3. Take 10 teaspoons of cayenne pepper in a glass of water. Endorphins are released by your brain when the cayenne hits your stomach lining.

4. Sniff green apple scent. One study found that the scent significantly relieved migraine pain. This may also work with other scents that you enjoy so consulting with an aromatherapist may be beneficial. Other aromas that stand out of the crowd include peppermint, sandalwood oil, lavender, and eucalyptus.

5. Hot and cold packs. For some people, heat will do the trick, while others get more relief from cold. Experiment to see which one works for you, but avoid extreme temperatures. You can also try placing your hands in hot (but not scalding) water, which seems to pull pressure from your head.

Cardiovascular Disease Linked to Vitamin Deficiency & amp; High Homocysteine Levels

There is a new buzz word regarding a possible predictor of a stroke, coronary heart disease or peripheral vascular disease, and that word is homocysteine; a non-protein α-amino acid derivative from the amino acid cysteine. Many epidemiological studies have shown that too much homocysteine in the blood (specifically the plasma portion) is related to a higher risk of cardiovascular events and atherosclerosis, the plaquing of the arteries.

So how does one collect so much homocysteine in the blood that it can result in such serious healthrisks?

The answer is simple: diet, lifestyle factors and chronic stress.

Cardiovascular Disease Linked to High Homocysteine Levels Copy Cardiovascular Disease Linked to Vitamin Deficiency & High Homocysteine Levels

Stress, Vitamins and Homocysteine

A major factor that contributes to an increase of homocysteine in the blood is a deficiency of three different, yet co-dependent, B-group vitamins:

Stress has long been known to deplete the body of B vitamins (and vitamin C), so this isn’t really a big surprise. And when we add poor diet choices along with the sedentary lifestyle and Standard American Diet (or SAD – a very appropriate acronym I might add!) the deficiency only worsens. This then can sets off a chain of reactions that ultimately lead to disease such as:



 Chronic fatigue


 Pain syndromes

These diseases are often compounded by conventional pharmaceutical “treatments”, which further deplete the body of vital nutrients.

Is it any wonder that cardiovascular disease is now the number one cause of death from any health condition (or should I say, disease condition) in the United States?

Strangely enough (but not surprising) the FDA and pharmaceutical companies want to ban vitamin B6from the market, only to rename it as a drug to be sold only by prescription! By eliminating access to this vital nutrient, and with our food already nutrient-depleted, over processed, and full of chemicals, what are the chances that cardiovascular events will continue to increase? And what are the chances that this will increase the sales of even more pharmaceutical drugs?

Talk about irony!

A Vicious Cycle

Let’s talk about how homocysteine levels rise in the blood.

In order for the body to process homocysteine, it first must be converted to methionine (an essential amino acid), and this requires an enzyme called methionine synthase. But guess what, methionine synthase requires vitamin B12. If your vitamin B12 levels are low, this means that a vitamin B12 deficiency can easily be indirectly responsible for elevated homocysteine levels in the blood.

With an estimated 10 to 20% of Americans clinically vitamin B12 deficient, and with an unknown amount of people “sub-clinically” or borderline deficient, why isn’t more attention being given to this correlation?

Not only do we have a society that is both malnourished and overweight, we also have high societally- and self-induced levels of stress. And as I already mentioned, stress depletes B vitamins in the body.

Interestingly, there is one other major problem that is significantly involved with the absorption of B vitamins — gastrointestinal issues. When you are under constant stress, and/or eat poorly, it’s no secret the problems that it can cause to your digestive system. In fact, it is such a problem that entire aisles in the grocery store and drug stores are dedicated to just gastrointestinal issues! And, with gastrointestinal issues comes the inability to absorb nutrients such as Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – and particularly Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)!

What a cycle!


A Quick Word About Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

Folic acid is generally recognized as a pre-natal vitamin, which helps to prevent neural tube defects of the unborn child. It is also associated with anemia, which is most commonly the result of a deficiency of folic acid, vitamin B12 or iron. Besides that, hardly a mention apart from the minuscule amount prescribed as the Recommended Daily Allowance. gastrointestinal issues and other

So, based on what we know, it’s easy to make a connection between:

  • Anemia and cardiovascular events, and/or
  • Gastrointestinal issues and cardiovascular events, and/or
  • Stress and cardiovascular events.

It is also very simple to make the appropriate corrections to reduce homocysteine levels and prevent its effects on the cardiovascular system.

How? By correcting dietary B vitamin deficiencies earlier on.

… And that’s the true meaning of disease prevention!