5. Vitamin D could help to prevent the start of rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers have found that having adequate vitamin D levels could help in preventing the start of inflammatory diseases which include rheumatoid arthritis.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE DOI: 10.1016/j.jaut.2017.10.001
The study also determined that although Vitamin D can be effective at protecting against the start of inflammation, it’s not so effective once inflammatory disease is established since conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis result in vitamin D insensitivity.
The researchers determined that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis should be prescribed much higher doses of vitamin D than currently used or provided a treatment that also corrects the vitamin D insensitivity of the joint’s immune cells.
Vitamin D is a potent immune system modulator and can help in suppressing inflammation in autoimmune diseases. Individuals with rheumatoid arthritis are often vitamin D deficient and might supplement with vitamin D.
The study involved making use of paired peripheral blood and synovial fluid from the inflamed joint of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
The researchers examined reactions to the active type of vitamin D in the inflamed joint immune cells of rheumatoid arthritis patients. In comparison to blood from these individuals, the immune cells from the inflamed joint were not as sensitive to the active type of vitamin D.
This seems to be due to the fact that the joints immune cells of patients with rheumatoid arthritis are more committed to inflammation, and consequently more unlikely to change, although they have the mechanism to respond to vitamin D.
The study suggests that keeping adequate vitamin D levels could help in preventing the start of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Just providing vitamin D is however probably not enough for individuals who are already suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Much higher vitamin D doses might instead be required, or possibly a treatment bypassing or correcting the immune cells’ vitamin D insensitivity inside the joint.