(Natural News) A study published in the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine has shown that being deficient in vitamin D may lead to or worsen rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, creating inflammation. This inflammation causes the tissue lining the inside of the joints to thicken, which in turn, cause swelling and pain in and around the joints.
Vitamin D is said to have immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, and a deficiency in this vitamin is associated with autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, researchers from Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital in India studied the link between vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis. (Related: Vitamin D deficiency symptoms explained: the top 9 warning signs.)
In the study, they aimed to determine the differences between vitamin D levels in a healthy population and rheumatoid arthritis patients. Then, they correlated vitamin D levels with rheumatoid arthritis disease activity.
For the study, they recruited a total of 100 participants aged between 18 and 75 years. Half of the participants were rheumatoid arthritis patients, while the other half were healthy individuals. They measured and compared the levels of vitamin D of the participants. Then, they examined the vitamin D levels of rheumatoid arthritis patients in different stages of disease activity.
The results revealed that most of the rheumatoid arthritis patients — particularly 84 percent — were vitamin D deficient. Their vitamin D levels were also significantly lower than healthy participants. The researchers also saw that the levels of vitamin D tended to decrease as the disease worsened.
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Based on the findings of the study, the researchers concluded that vitamin D deficiency is more common in people with rheumatoid arthritis patients and this deficiency may cause or worsen the disease.
Preventing vitamin D deficiency through diet
The current recommended daily dose of vitamin D in the U.S. is 400 international units (IUs). However, most experts suggest that this is not enough and that all adults should take at least 2,000 IUs of vitamin D every day. Getting exposed to direct sunlight for 10 to 30 minutes a day can boost vitamin D levels. However, this may be difficult due to colder temperatures and inclement weather. During this time, people are more likely to stay inside their houses and fail to get enough sunlight vitamin. So how do you avoid vitamin D deficiency, especially during winter? One of the best ways to prevent vitamin D deficiency is through diet. You can incorporate these vitamin D-rich foods to your diet:
- Fatty fish: In addition to being a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fish is also a good source of vitamin D. You may consider adding fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel to your diet. Canned tuna fish and canned sardines also contain vitamin D.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms, such as portobello mushrooms, have the capacity to produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. So, they are also good sources of vitamin D.
- Egg yolks: One of the easiest ways to get vitamin D is to eat egg yolks. An egg yolk provides around 40 IUs.
- Cod liver oil: One of the greatest dietary sources of vitamin D is cod liver oil. One tablespoon of cod liver oil will give you about 1,300 IUs.
Read more news stories and studies on the importance of vitamin D on health by going to VitaminD.news.