Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vitamin D and RA

Got vitamin D in you? If you don't know how much vitamin D you currently have in your body, you should ask your doctor to test you for your vitamin D level.  It isn't just a question of calcium absorption anymore, vitamin D has been linked to a lot more…a whole lot more.

Vitamin D, or rather the lack of vitamin D, has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other autoimmune illnesses.  I wouldn't recommend that you just start taking vitamin D as the body does accumulate it and too much vitamin D can do damage to your kidneys. But having a lack of vitamin D isn't a good thing either.

Ironically it wasn't until I had a calcium and vitamin D test done that i discovered just how important vitamin D is to our bodies.  

I was shocked to learn that according to webmd,  vitamin D "not only promotes strong bone health but that low levels of vitamin D are linked to type 1 diabetes, bone pain, cancers of the breast, colon, prostrate, ovaries, esophagus and lymphatic system.  If you want to lower your blood pressure, vitamin D may be just what the doctor ordered. If you're trying to reduce your risk of diabetes, or lower your chances of heart attacks, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, then vitamin D should be at the front of the line in your daily supplement regimen."

Science Daily reported on a recent study linking rheumatoid arthritis to vitamin D deficiency. In this study, "women in states like Vermont, New Hampshire and southern Maine were more likely to report being diagnosed with RA. There's less sunlight in these areas, which results in a vitamin D deficiency."

In a study conducted in 2004, pub med.gov reported "Vitamin D intake is inversely associated with rheumatoid arthritis."  My first thought on this was, "Why didn't any of my rheumatologists test me earlier then 2010?" It took my endocrinologist to test me for a vitamin D deficiency.

Similarly, a new study published in Rheumatology International showed that vitamin D levels decreased significantly in ra patients with disease activity and the patients ability to function.

And if you are on long term pregnisone use...heads up...pregnisone can cause low levels of vitamin D also.

I am writing this blog in the hopes of helping anyone with ra. I am not a doctor and I never professed to be one, but I do have a lot of common sense and I am driven to live the highest quality of life I can with my ra.

If you haven't already been tested for your vitamin D levels and you have ra or suspect that you might have any autoimmune disorder, high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer of any kind….please ask your doctor about being tested or at the very least, the importance of vitamin D in relation to your own personal health.  I figure it can't hurt. All it might do is help you realize that you need more vitamin D and who knows what that might help….potentially an awful lot from what I have read.


Jan said...

My rheumatologist advised me to take calcium with vitamin D--so twice a day 1200 mg. calcium with 1000 iu of D. So that's okay, right? I don't think I've been tested, though some months ago my regular doctor tested for D-3 deficency, which I had (when I was trying to diagnose what was wrong with me, but never would consider RA.) So I take D-3, too. I appreciate all the info!!

Anonymous said...

When my 19 year old son started his "I ache in a whole bunch of joints" adventure that looks like it will end in his diagnosis... my Rheumy tested him. He had Vit D level of 12. He's on mega-doses of vitamin D each week to see if bringing that up will make him feel less awful. It has helped a little... not a lot.
She then realized she never tested me. I was low. Not HOLY CRAP batman low, like his, but low and I'm on 1000mg D3 every day now after my month of mega-D. I don't see much difference in how I hurt, but if it keeps things from getting worse (and in my head I know it can get worse) I'm all for it.
Just keep swimming... Just keep swimming... just keep swimming swimming swimming...

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Jan - I wouldn't suggest what amount to take to you..that is between you and your doc. I know mine told me 2,000 of D3 per day. Mine doesn't want to come up. Maybe you should get tested at some point to be sure. Seems to me you are getting more then 1000 as you are doing both the D and D3 but who am I to say :-) All I know is I have osteopenia also and I know D helps in the absorbing calcium as well. I just find it weird that alot of ra patients are now finding out they have low and sometimes extremely low levels.

figmentoffitness...Did they wind up diagnosing your son? For me the D3 I take hasn't helped with the pain but supposedly a study found this...obviously they didn't have you and me and Jan in this study :-) And I am with you...hoping it will help from things getting worse as we know this can happen.

Wishing lots of sunny rays in your lives :-)

Lissa Rachelle Robillard said...

Great info, Deb. I've heard that vit D deficiency is linked to autoimmune problems, but hadn't heard about the connection to prednisone (which I am on). I asked my doc to test me last year and I was low (don't remember the number now), so have been taking 3000 D3 / day since then. I honestly can't say that I notice much difference in how I feel, but I should probably get myself retested at this point. Maybe I'm not taking enough.

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

I would think your doc would have retested you. Confused look here..as too much vit D in the body isn't a great thing either from what I have been reading. I would ask for a retest. And personally I am not sure that correct levels of Vit D will make us feel any better with the working or ra/pain/inflammation etc. I think it just might not make things worse though...lol. Let me know how the retest goes. I had mine redone recently and still low.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Yay! Blogger must have fixed the problem and I can now comment on your blog again!!!

I have my Vitamin D checked at the beginning of every spring. Last year with lots of sun exposure over the previous summer and supplements my family physician said my levels were better than he has ever seen. That surprised me a lot. This year I cut back on some of the supplements and my levels were lower but still good. I think it is definitely worth having them checked out.

Great post! Thanks for sharing.

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Cathy - yeah your back. She's alive! She's posting again :-) I think vitamins play alot more in our health. Unfortunately traditional docs aren't schooled too much in all of that. And yup...checking is the only way to find out.

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