You may hear all sorts of tips on preventing and getting rid of rheumatoid arthritis. Then there are those who tell you that you cannot prevent it at all. Some will tell you that all you can do is prolong the onset.
The latter is true. We can all suffer from rheumatoid arthritis at some point in our lives. It is especially common in women, especially as we age. Our bodies do not produce the right elements within the body or absorb the right nutrients fully, leaving us with a variety of health problems.
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause a lot of pain and discomfort at first. Then it leads to the joints not working properly, mostly affecting the knees and the hands.
With all this in mind, you will want to know about tips to avoid the onset. Vitamin D is often encouraged in a way to help absorb calcium in the body. This is supposed to help a range of joint and bone problems. However, does vitamin D help prevent the onset of this type of arthritis? Could it make it worse?
Low Levels Makes Rheumatoid Arthritis Worse
Everyone needs vitamin D. It is one of the easiest vitamins to get daily, especially if you live somewhere with plenty of sunshine throughout the year. Even if you do not, there are other simple ways of adding the nutrient to your diet.
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to a faster onset of rheumatoid arthritis. Well, studies have shown that people with RA are more likely to have lower vitamin D levels. Because of this, researchers believe that not getting enough vitamin D can trigger the onset of the condition. Now, a few studies showthis, but the link is understandable.
While vitamin D levels may not link directly to the onset of the condition, they certainly can lead to symptoms being worse.This has been shown in studies.
In fact, most chronic inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders have been linked to low levels of vitamin D. Patients with lower levels of the nutrient have been found with more aggressive forms of various diseases, or have found that their symptoms progress at a faster rate than someone with a healthy level of the nutrient. Unfortunately, studies cannot agree on how little is too little!
Some of the autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions linked to low levels of vitamin D include multiple sclerosis, Type I diabetes, RA, and other forms of arthritis. Studies of those with RA showed that those who continued to see lower levels of vitamin D saw more severe symptoms of their condition. Those who had higher levels saw the progression of arthritis lower.
Why is vitamin D so important? Well, many just look at is a way to help absorb more calcium in the body. That is not the nutrient’s only function. Vitamin D also helps with the functioning of the immune system. While conditions are autoimmune, which means the immune system cannot do much, having a healthy immune system can help to lessen some of the symptoms. Vitamin D has also been linked to many other functions within the body, which help to lessen some of the symptoms of RA.
Preventing the Onset and Progression of RA with Vitamin D
Let’s look at how vitamin D is supposedly able to help prevent the onset. Studies have shown that vitamin D has some influence over the development of the immune system. The influence is at a molecular level, which helps with the slowing of the progress of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.
The vitamin D caninhibit the inflammation process within the immune system. Inflammation is one of the most common causes of pain and is part of the immune system itself. Unfortunately, inflammation can take place at wrong times. The body can think there is something sinister, so the immune system starts working. This leads to inflammation where it is not needed, putting pressure on nerves and tightening joints and other areas. By reducing the inflammatory response within the body, it is possible to keep RA at bay.
After all, rheumatoid arthritis involves inflammation of the joints. This type of arthritis uses inflammation to make the joints stiff and difficult to move. This can lead to pain, as there are many nerves around the area. You can also end up with pain in other, connected parts of the body that leads to more symptoms.
Adults need around 600 IU of the nutrient daily. The great news is you can get this from just 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen. That is all you need, and then you can go back inside or cover up. Those with darker complexions may need a little more, but it will depend on your body’s ability to absorb the right rays to increase the vitamin D amounts. Even with darker skin, doctors recommend no more than 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen or some protection. Longer than this and you are at risk of developing cancer from the UVA rays or sun spots and increasing the aging process due to the UVB rays.
You can also get vitamin D from some foods. In parts of the world, milk is fortified with the vitamin as it is difficult to get good sun rays throughout winter months. You can also get some vitamin D from oily fish and egg yolks. If you cannot get your allowance through food, you will need to consider supplements.
It is Not Just About the Immune System
The effects of vitamin D on the bones is also beneficial for reducing the onset risk of rheumatoid arthritis. It is also essential to reduce the symptoms and progression of the disease.
Vitamin D helps to strengthen the bones. Most importantly when it comes to RA, the nutrient helps to strengthen the cartilage. It is the cartilage that helps to protect against the development of any arthritis. Cartilage is the bit between the bones that help to prevent the two from rubbing. The joints can move around much smoother and easier. Think of it as the lubricant between rocks. When the lubricant goes, the rocks rub together and start shaving away parts of each other. This is excruciating for the bones.
Cartilage will disappear over time. It is a natural part of aging, but you can help to slow down the process with the right amount of vitamin D and calcium. Even if you do not think vitamin D will help prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, you can protect your joints from wear and tear.
There are also studies that show adequate vitamin D can also prevent the onset of other bone diseases, especially rickets. Children who have spent all the time indoors, especially in countries with little sun, have found issues with rickets and other bone diseases.
Studies Are Starting to Show Vitamin D Can Prevent RA
While few studies do show vitamin, D can help to prevent the onset of RA (most studies show how vitamin D can help the symptoms), more studies are showing positive results. One study in 2004 looked at 30,000 women between 55 and 69 years old without rheumatoid arthritis.
The researchers went back in 2015 to see how the patients had faired. Those with lower levels of vitamin D had started to show signs of RA. In fact, 152 women already had a confirmed diagnosis of the condition. The researchers found that low vitamin D levels were present in these women.
One of the biggest issues with this study is the lack of women with rheumatoid arthritis to make a direct link. There were 152 confirmed cases out of 30,000 women. This was not even 1 percent of the patients. It could suggest that there are far more considerations to make when looking at those who are at risk of developing the condition.
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RA Affects Your Vitamin D Levels Too
It is not just vitamin D that you need to get to prevent the onset of RA. The link works the opposite way around, which is where the studies may more accurately point.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects your heart. Your blood is not able to pump around your body as much, which can cause your body to become deficient in vitamin D. This then has a direct effect on the inflammatory response, making your rheumatoid arthritis worse. Of course, the worse your RA gets, the worse your vitamin D deficiency can become. Even getting the healthy levels of the nutrient may not be enough. You may need more, which can be gained through supplements.
If your doctor is worried about your vitamin D levels, they will often prescribe or recommend a specific supplement. Thiswill not just help your immune system and RA health, but you can also protect your bone health. Good levels of vitamin D help to absorb calcium into the bones and prevent osteoporosis.
The Studies Are Still Ongoing
It is worth pointing out that the studies into vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis onset are still ongoing. While some studies have shown a direct link, others have shown no link at all. It will depend on the patient and arthritis.
After all, there are other factors in reducing inflammation within the body. Healthy fats and antioxidants have shown benefits in reducing the inflammation in the body. You can also use anti-inflammatory products, and there are foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties.
However, there is no denying the vitamin D link to reducing inflammation. Plus, most people are deficient in the nutrient, so it will do you very little harm in increasing the amount of it that you get.
If you are worried at all about your vitamin D levels, it isimportant to talk to your doctor. This is one of those nutrients that gives very few symptoms, so your doctor will need to carry out blood work tests to see where the exact problem lies. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Weakened bones
- Difficulty in concentrating
These symptoms are linked to many other deficiencies, making it much harder for doctors to diagnose the problem just from a list of symptoms. Blood tests are the most effective ways.
It is important not to take too much vitamin D. The good news is that it can be very difficult to do this unless you aremisusing supplements or they must have an extremely high dosage set due to lack of absorption. Studies have shown people who take more than 40,000 IUs of vitamin D are likely to suffer from toxicity side effects. Your doctor will keep an eye on you, especially if you need to be prescribed higher levels.
Vitamin D and Rheumatoid Arthritis Conclusion
The jury is out on the link between the two. While there are studies that show vitamin, D can prevent the onset, there are also studies that show it does not matter. However, the studies do show that RA can make it harder for your body to absorb vitamin D. You are more likely to have a deficiency, and people with a deficiency in the nutrient have shown more serious and advanced symptoms of the condition.
It is not just rheumatoid arthritis. Almost all inflammatory and autoimmune disorders have shown issues with vitamin D deficiency, usually due to the way vitamin D can help prevent inflammation within the body.
If you are worried, you can talk to your doctor. They will look out for a deficiency and help you create a good healthy living plan to prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
While the jury may be out on the effects of vitamin D on the onset of rheumatoid arthritis, it is still an essential nutrient to get into your diet. The great news is with the sun you can quickly get it. Without, you may need to get supplements to help. Supplements are worth it, as the nutrient is essential for your bone and joint health.
What do you think?