4. Other Research Studies
Another research study published in the Journal of the Association of the Physicians of India said that many people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have lower vitamin D levels compared to people who do not have the condition. The researchers who conducted this study believe that not only can low vitamin D levels spark the development of bone disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, but they may also make the symptoms worse over a period of time.
Researchers point out that in terminal inflammatory conditions and autoimmune diseases, a lower level of vitamin D can deteriorate the condition or show resistance to treatment. However, it is not certain as to how low may be too low for these diseases to be triggered.
These findings were revealed in a study that involved 37 study participants suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who were re-tested a year after they were diagnosed. The study was published in March 2015 and its outcome showed that the people whose vitamin D levels were low witnessed a faster decline of their condition and did not respond to treatment as effectively as desired.
3. Vitamin D and the Immune System
Researchers not only acknowledge vitamin D’s role in maintaining bone health but also emphasize that it plays an important role in the functioning of our immune system. Certain studies conducted on animals have shown that vitamin D has a critical role to play in the functioning of our immune system and the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis.
With proper levels of the sunshine vitamin in your body, your immunity becomes strong enough to restrain the development of inflammation that could otherwise lead to arthritis. By reducing inflammation, your body becomes better equipped to handle symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and restrict its progression.
The doctors can recommend blood tests to check the levels of vitamin D in your body and prescribe a course of supplements if required. The minimum recommended daily requirement of vitamin D for adults is 600 IU. However, your doctor may prescribe more, depending on your body’s unique needs.
If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, you are exposed to further risk if your body does not have enough vitamin D. Therefore, regardless of whether or not there is a connection between RA and vitamin D deficiency, doctors often prescribe the supplements if the tests reveal low levels. This is necessary to maintain your overall bone health and general well-being.
2. Corticosteroids and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a nutrient that is necessary for your body to keep your bones and teeth strong. However, people who take oral corticosteroids are likely to have low vitamin D levels.
A study conducted by researchers at Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City showed that people who are on steroids are two times more likely to have vitamin D deficiency compared to those who are not. This is why it is vital to keep your vitamin D levels in check, especially if you are on steroidal medication.
Vitamin D is essential in regulating your immune system to keep diseases at bay. The immune system of people who are on steroids gets compromised. Therefore, it is vital to maintain high levels of vitamin D to prevent such people from falling sick easily. Additionally, vitamin D helps keep your blood calcium levels in check by increasing your bones’ absorption ability. It also controls phosphorus and calcium levels that are necessary to keep bones and teeth strong.
Studies have found that women who have adequate vitamin D levels are 30% less likely to develop RA as compared to those whose levels are low.Related: 9 Vitamin Deficiencies That Show up on Your Skin
1. How to Get Your Daily Vitamin D?
One of the most crucial sources of vitamin D is sunlight. When you are exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun, a compound in your skin gets converted into vitamin D. However, many people block the sun rays from penetrating the skin by applying high SPF sunblock creams that completely prevent the creation of vitamin D.
Ideally, you should expose yourself to mild sunlight for at least a few minutes every day without applying any sunscreen. Just taking a walk in the park or sitting on a park bench in the morning might be enough to trigger your body to produce vitamin D.
If you have a dark skin tone, your body is naturally unable to make sufficient vitamin D from sunlight alone. People suffering from digestive issues are also unable to produce enough vitamin D due to decreased absorption. Foods like egg yolk, oily fish, milk and dairy products fortified with vitamin D are the only dietary sources that may not be enough to make up for the body’s daily requirement.
Therefore, if you are someone who is at risk of developing vitamin D deficiency or are concerned about the development of rheumatoid arthritis, consider discussing tests to determine your vitamin D levels with your doctor. You may be required to alter your diet and take supplements to complete your daily vitamin D requirement and save yourself from the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.Related: Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Belly Fat