In a recent post on Daily Strength’s Rheumatoid Arthritis group, a support group I frequently visit, someone posted the question, “What do we know about Vitamin D and RA?”. Many responded that they had been tested and had low levels of Vitamin D. One person in particular stated, “My doctor was saying the Vitamin D issue with me is beyond getting sunshine or eating fish. I’m prescribed 60,000 IU every other day when the recommended daily amount is 400-800 IU a day. There’s clearly something blocking the absorption of this vitamin. Other RA sufferers may have this trouble metabolizing it or absorbing it as well.”
“According to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 75 percent of Americans do not get enough Vitamin D. Researchers have found that the deficiency may negatively impact immune function and cardiovascular health and increase cancer risk. Now, a University of Missouri nutritional sciences researcher has found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation, a negative response of the immune system, in healthy women.”-Science Daily
“What are the consequences of long-term vitamin D deficiency? The answer to this question has become increasingly clear in the past few years. Actually, the first evidence in support of sun exposure as a source of vitamin D was published in 1941 by Apperly, who showed in the journal Cancer Research that cancers of various types were much less frequent in populations that lived closer to the equator. Since then, additional research has shown that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for breast cancer, prostate cancer, and numerous autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type-1 diabetes. The most convincing study ever published on this topic was authored by Hypponen and colleagues in the November 2001 issue of The Lancet. In this remarkable study, the investigators administered 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day to more than 10,000 infants, who were supposed to receive the vitamin D supplement every day for the first entire year of life. Thereafter, the risk of developing type-1 diabetes was calculated and a dose-response relationship was established. The results showed a positive dose-response relationship: the more regularly vitamin D was consumed, the greater the protection afforded against the development of type-1 diabetes. Children who were given vitamin D supplements on a regular basis had their risk of type-1 diabetes reduced by an amazing 88 percent! No adverse effects were noted.”-Nutritional Wellness
For Rheumatoid Arthritis, an inflammatory condition, people often produce too much tnf, a cytokine. Biologics like Enbrel work by blocking tnf protein. Enbrel blocks the action of tnf. According to Science Daily, Vitamin D also plays a role in tnf.
“Increased concentrations of serum TNF-α, an inflammatory marker, were found in women who had insufficient vitamin D levels. This study is the first to find an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and concentrations of TNF-α in a healthy, non-diseased population. This may explain the vitamin’s role in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases, including heart disease, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.”
Need more proof? “Three clinical trials have documented an anti-inflammatory benefit of vitamin D supplementation, suggesting that vitamin D may be used as part of a comprehensive approach for the prevention and treatment of inflammatory disorders.5,6 In one of the studies, a modest dose of vitamin D reduced blood levels of C-reactive protein by 23 percent, which is remarkable considering that CRP is considered one of the most sensitive markers for predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease.”-Nutritional Wellness
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