Essential vitamins that are necessary for good gut health

If you lead a more stressful lifestyle or if there is an imbalance between your good and bad bacteria, you may have too much bad bacteria in your gut. Picture from Pexels.

If you lead a more stressful lifestyle or if there is an imbalance between your good and bad bacteria, you may have too much bad bacteria in your gut. Picture from Pexels.

Published Oct 10, 2023


Due to the fact that it supplies your body with nutrients, your digestive system is very important to your general health.

The intestinal system in your body is home to trillions of bacteria and their genetic material. Numerous biological processes, including digestion, metabolism, control of body weight, and immune responses, are influenced by bacteria.

You have probably heard of the phrase "gut health". It explains how the bacteria that are in charge of digesting in your gut -- in your oesophagus, stomach, and intestine -- are controlled.

A healthy stomach allows you to digest food painlessly, but it's not as common as you may believe.

An essential component of overall health is digestive health. Additionally, a lack of the minerals necessary for healthy digestion can result in issues, including exhaustion, nausea, weak bones, and a weakened immune system.

Look to vitamins to assist in enhancing gut health if you're attempting to improve the immune system of you or your family, aid in stress response, manage anxiety and depression, or any other immunological function.

Vitamins are referred to as "essential" for a reason. The digestive system is no exception to the rule that your body needs vitamins to operate properly.

The good news is that you can typically obtain all the vitamins you need for digestion by eating fruits, vegetables, and protein, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, some vitamins are more necessary for digestion than others.

Bad bacteria, viruses, and fungus can be fended off, as well as general health and wellbeing, by having a healthy gut. Picture from Pexels

Vitamin A

According to the NIH, vitamin A plays a major role in supporting the immune system, vision, bone, and reproductive health. Vitamin A is abundant in colourful fruits and vegetables including carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, and other dark greens as well as in liver and milk.

Despite not having a direct role in digestion, several gastrointestinal conditions can make you more susceptible to developing a vitamin A deficit.

For instance, a study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that vitamin A insufficiency is more prevalent among Crohn's disease patients.

The researchers found that a deficiency in vitamin A can exacerbate the imbalance between the production and oxidation of free radicals in Crohn's patients' intestinal mucus membrane. People with celiac disease frequently experience this deficit as well.

Vitamin C

Because it is an antioxidant, vitamin C is frequently linked to the immune system and the prevention of colds, but the NIH notes that this important vitamin also supports strong teeth and gums and aids in the body's ability to absorb iron.

Recent research indicates that people with digestive disorders frequently lack enough iron, and because iron deficiency can lead to constipation, iron supplementation might be challenging at times.

Vitamin C can be found in many foods, including citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and fortified cereal. People who eat a balanced diet do not need to take supplements.

Vitamin D

According to the NIH, vitamin D is essential for healthy nerves, muscles, and the immune system as well as for the body's absorption of calcium.

Furthermore, an analysis published in Cancers in June 2021 found a link between adequate vitamin D levels and a lower risk of colon cancer, according to Everyday Health.

81% of South Africans are considered to be vitamin D deficient, which can cause cramps, muscle weakness, and bone discomfort.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are three methods to obtain vitamin D: through sunlight, vitamin D-rich foods such as egg yolks, saltwater fish, liver, fortified milk and cereal supplements.

If you suspect a deficiency, check with your doctor first to be sure you are getting the proper dosage into your body. Picture from Pexels

According to a study published in the May 2019 issue of Nutrients, if you have an inflammatory bowel condition like Crohn's disease, which is frequently linked to low vitamin D levels, you could also need a vitamin D supplement.

Older adults, breast-fed newborns, those with dark complexion, those with cystic fibrosis or liver illness, those who are obese, and those who have had gastric bypass surgery are among groups at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency.

Consult your doctor about taking a supplement if you aren't receiving enough vitamin D from food and sunlight.

Remember that you might already be taking a vitamin D pill. The National Osteoporosis Foundation, for instance, notes that many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D.

B Vitamins

The NIH explains that these vitamins aid in the formation of red blood cells and the absorption of energy from meals and are present in proteins including fish, poultry, meat, and dairy products as well as leafy greens and beans.

B vitamins must be a regular part of your diet because they are water-soluble and cannot be stored in your fat cells for later use. (This applies to all B vitamins, with the exception of B12, which circulates.)

B vitamins are essential for the metabolism of both carbs and lipids, claims Healthline. The body needs a variety of different B vitamins. These for the digestive system are:

B1: Also referred to as thiamine, this vitamin helps your body turn carbohydrates into energy for your cells and controls your appetite.

B3: Also referred to as niacin, this vitamin is crucial for the digestion of carbs, lipids, and alcohol, among other things. Niacin deficiency can lead to pellagra, a condition that causes extreme vomiting and diarrhoea.

B6: Also referred to as pyridoxine, B6 is crucial for your body to properly metabolise the protein you eat.

Biotin: Aids the body's process of turning food into energy.

B12: Also referred to as cobalamin, this vitamin is important for the development of blood cells and the brain system. The NIH warns that a vitamin B12 shortage might result in anaemia. Additionally, gait issues and neuropsychiatric syndromes can be brought on by it.

The majority of people consume enough B vitamins through their diets, but for some, supplements may be beneficial.

For instance, B12 levels may be extremely low in patients with certain intestinal conditions, such as Crohn's disease. Before you start taking any supplements, talk to your doctor about your concerns.