Gut Health has recently been researched more than ever, and the link to overall health is astounding. The gut needs vitamins to function well, and here we will discuss the best vitamins for gut health and how to find them.
It’s important to remember that there is a limit to how much of any one vitamin you should consume. Having too much of any vitamin can lead to health issues, just like being vitamin deficient can.
What are Vitamins?
Vitamins are organic compounds that every living thing needs in small quantities. Humans usually get vitamins through their diet, but some vitamins are produced in the body or come from other sources, such as the sun.
In some cases, our bodies produce very little of a particular vitamin, and we need to top it up within our diets or take supplements.7
B Vitamins and Gut Health
B Vitamins are essential for the stomach to function correctly. Digestive health is boosted massively by B Vitamins; they help the gut gain energy from food and protect the abdomen from distress.1
They also help the body create red blood cells, which is how oxygen is transported from the lungs around our bodies.2
There are 8 B complex vitamins, and consuming all of them is your best shot at a healthy gut. Meat, liver, seafood, poultry, eggs and dairy products are all high in B Vitamins,3 which can make it hard for vegans and vegetarians to gain enough B Vitamins in their diet naturally.
Legumes, leafy greens, seeds, nutritional yeast and some breakfast cereals also contain B Vitamins.3 When food is fortified, this means it has added vitamins in it. When choosing foods, it can be helpful to look for foods fortified with B vitamins to give you the boost you need.
Vitamin C is a fantastic source of antioxidants that can aid digestion by helping the body to absorb iron. Vitamin C has been shown to improve the function of the guts barrier, which can help prevent leaky gut and ensure your gut can absorb what it needs.4
Vitamin C has been shown in some studies to diversify gut bacteria more than any other vitamin by balancing the good and the bad.5 Diversity in the gut microbiome is essential to maintaining a healthy gut, as too many bad bacteria can cause issues in the body.
Fruit and veg are your best shot at getting a good dose of vitamin C. Oranges, orange juice, strawberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and potatoes are all excellent sources of vitamin C.6
Vitamin D can be gained through sunlight; as the sun reaches our skin, our bodies produce vitamin D. For most people that live in cold or mixed climates such as the UK, for at least some of the year, we are unlikely to get enough vitamin D.8
Vitamin D can help the intestinal barrier function properly and encourage the immune system to control inflammation and protect the body against infection and illness.9 Most of the cells of the immune system are in the gut, meaning a healthy gut goes a long way to helping the immune system thrive.
Good sources of Vitamin D include oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, red meats including liver, egg yolks and fortified foods like some breakfast cereals.8
Like B Vitamins, Vitamin D can be hard to get through a vegan or vegetarian diet, so looking for fortified foods or taking supplements can be a great option.
We need a whole host of vitamins in small amounts to ensure our guts can function well, given how essential our gut is to overall function, including the immune system; looking after it is vital.
We always recommend consulting your Doctor before changing your diet or taking supplements.
It’s essential to remember that if you are gaining enough of a particular vitamin in your diet, taking a supplement also could mean you have too much of the vitamin, which has health issues.