Vitamin D is considered an essential part of healthy living. From reducing the risk of asthma attacks, treating sunburns and even lessening the symptoms of depression, vitamin D is frequently supported by medical experts for its many benefits. Based on the findings of a new study, there's one more reason you may want to check in with your healthcare provider about your vitamin D levels.
Research from the University of Birmingham and published in Journal of Autoimmunity is reporting that by getting a steady dose of vitamin D in your diet, you can possibly prevent the onset of "inflammatory diseases including rheumatoid arthritis," EurekAlert! reports. The researchers warn, though, that in order to reap the possible prevention benefits of vitamin D, it's important to incorporate the supplement into your diet before rheumatoid arthritis sets in. Watch out for these signs you aren't getting enough vitamin D.
Martin Hewison of the University's Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research explained that their "current understanding of vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis is based on studies of patient blood which may not truly represent the situation at the site of inflammation—the joints. We therefore investigated responses to the active form of vitamin D in immune cells from the inflamed joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Compared to blood from the same patients, the inflamed joint immune cells were much less sensitive to active vitamin D. This appears to be because immune cells from the joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients are more committed to inflammation, and therefore less likely to change, even though they have all the machinery to respond to vitamin D."
Based on their findings, the researchers are advising that in order for vitamin D supplements to truly be effective in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, doctors "may need to prescribe much higher doses than currently employed or provide a treatment that also corrects the vitamin D insensitivity of immune cells within the joint." Before adding a supplement to your routine, learn the risks of taking too much vitamin D.
As one of the study's authors, Dr. Louisa Jeffery said in a statement, "Our research indicates that maintaining sufficient vitamin D may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. However, for patients who already have rheumatoid arthritis, simply providing vitamin D might not be enough. Instead, much higher doses of vitamin D may be needed, or possibly a new treatment that bypasses or corrects the vitamin D insensitivity of immune cells within the joint."