A new study from the University of Birmingham shows how maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D can prevent rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers examined how immune cells in the blood of people with rheumatoid arthritis responded to doses of vitamin D, finding that tissue which wasn’t inflamed reacted well. Comparatively, vitamin D had little effect on diseased tissue, leading researchers to believe that high doses would be needed alongside other anti-inflammatories.
“The inflamed joint immune cells were much less sensitive to active vitamin D,” the study’s co-author Professor Martin Hewison told The Guardian. “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.”
Hewison added that “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.”
Exactly how much vitamin D is needed to make a real difference is unclear, but Hewison and his team are already working on finding an answer.
Hewison added that the results could greatly benefit people living with rheumatoid arthritis, but exact figures were needed. “How much vitamin D is needed to overcome [rheumatoid arthritis] is the missing piece of the jigsaw.”
Get Vitamin D naturally by eating the following 4 foods:
- Fatty fish
Vitamin D: Why we all need it