Vitamin D improves gut flora and metabolic syndrome
A study published in Frontiers in Physiology has found that a high-fat diet alone is not enough to trigger metabolic syndrome, it must be accompanied by a Vitamin D deficiency. Metabolic syndrome is defined by a group of risk factors that can lead to diabetes and heart disease, these include obesity, high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The study itself was conducted in mice models and found that vitamin D deficiency caused an imbalance in gut flora, contributing to fatty livers and the symptoms that make up metabolic syndrome. Vitamin D deficiency can decrease the production of defensins, which are anti-microbial molecules that help to regulate gut flora.
If these outcomes can be repeated in humans it seems that exposure to the sun and consuming vitamin D supplements could be a feasible approach to preventing metabolic syndrome. The authors of the study are keen to continue this area of research so that more can be done to fully understand the role of vitamin D and vitamin D supplements in the development and prevention of metabolic syndrome.