Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered.
The research also found that while Vitamin D can be effective at preventing the onset of inflammation, it is less effective once inflammatory disease is established because diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis leads to vitamin D insensitivity.
Another key finding of the research was that the impact of vitamin D on inflammatory disease cannot be predicted using cells from healthy individuals or even from the blood of patients with inflammation as cells from the disease tissue are very different.
The researchers concluded that if vitamin D is to be used in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, clinicians 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.
In addition to its well-established actions on the skeleton, vitamin D is a potent modulator of the immune system. In particular, vitamin D can suppress inflammation in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are frequently vitamin D deficient and may receive vitamin D supplementation.