Probiotics Aid Vit. D Absorption

Kerry Beeson BSc (Nut. Med.) Nutritional Therapist

Research1 suggests that the daily supplementation of a probiotic may boost vitamin D levels circulating in the blood by 25%. Vitamin D, known as the 'sunshine' vitamin, has some very important actions in the body including:

  • Helping with the absorption of calcium and phosphate, which keep bones and teeth healthy.
  • Helping to support and regulate immune function
  • Helping to support the health of the brain and nervous system

A deficiency of vitamin D can cause rickets and other musculoskeletal diseases, but vitamin D deficiency has been linked to some forms of cancer2, autoimmune and infectious diseases3, type 2 diabetes4, and cardiovascular disease5. This research has shown a positive correlation to public awareness of the health benefits of vitamin D, as vitamin D is one of the most popular food supplements.

Lady absorbing sunshine
Above: Most of the vitamin D we absorb is obtained from the sun

A study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, was the first of its kind to show a link between the supplementation of a probiotic and levels of vitamin D. The study's lead author, Dr Mitchell Jones, commented:

"Although it has long been known that the gastrointestinal tract plays an active role in the absorption of vitamin D, these findings showing improved vitamin D status in response to an orally delivered probiotic are a first, and will inform the development of new products that may be beneficial for people with low vitamin D levels.

"The double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, parallel-arm, multi-centre trial involved 127 adult participants, who were randomly assigned to either a placebo or the L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 probiotic strain for nine weeks. The results showed that the probiotic group showed significantly higher levels of vitamin D in the blood stream.

"Researchers also surmised that if the probiotic strain was administered alongside a vitamin D supplement, they would see even greater increases in absorption levels. The researchers concluded, "In short, we believe it is possible that more vitamin D is being absorbed." 

Further evidence of the synergy between vitamin D and probiotics has since emerged, and a later review6 of related research to date showed optimism for the use of probiotics and vitamin combinations:

"A combined supplementation with vitamin D and probiotics seems to play a role on the physiological and psychological attributes of the human body, and represents a novel insight in the management of chronic diseases. The findings of this systematic review suggest a superiority of vitamin D and probiotics supplementation over placebo, vitamin D or probiotics alone, and propose a dose-dependent effect."

Read other related articles:

Vitamin D and your baby's microbiome
Probiotics may combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens


  1. Jones, M. et al (2013) Oral supplementation with probiotic L. reuteri NCIMB 30242 increases mean circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D: a post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Published online ahead of print.
  2. Edlich R, Mason SS, Chase ME, Fisher AL, Gubler K, Long WB 3rd, Giesy JD, Foley ML. Scientific documentation of the relationship of vitamin D deficiency and the development of cancer. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 2009;28(2):133-41. doi: 10.1615/jenvironpatholtoxicoloncol.v28.i2.50. PMID: 19817700.
  3. Yang, C. Y., Leung, P. S., Adamopoulos, I. E., & Gershwin, M. E. (2013). The implication of vitamin D and autoimmunity: a comprehensive review. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology45(2), 217–226.
  4. Berridge MJ. Vitamin D deficiency and diabetes. Biochem J. 2017 Mar 24;474(8):1321-1332. doi: 10.1042/BCJ20170042. PMID: 28341729.
  5. Judd, S. E., & Tangpricha, V. (2009). Vitamin D deficiency and risk for cardiovascular disease. The American journal of the medical sciences338(1), 40–44.
  6. Abboud M, Rizk R, AlAnouti F, Papandreou D, Haidar S, Mahboub N. The Health Effects of Vitamin D and Probiotic Co-Supplementation: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2020 Dec 30;13(1):111. doi: 10.3390/nu13010111. PMID: 33396898; PMCID: PMC7824176.