Lupus and Vitamin D
By A. G. Moore
Researchers have been looking at the relationship between vitamin D and lupus. While there is a definite association between low levels of vitamin D and lupus disease activity, this fact has not led to a recommendation that vitamin D become a treatment for lupus. This is because no reliable randomized studies have demonstrated absolutely that vitamin D is effective in treating the disease. However, there has been research with encouraging results in this area, so the work continues.
What studies have established is that the greater the Vitamin D deficiency in a lupus patient, the more active their disease seems to be. This correlation holds true especially for people with renal involvement and leukopenia. Why this occurs is not clearly understood.
One of the suspected causes for a very high occurrence of vitamin D deficiency in lupus patients is that people with the disease tend to avoid sunlight–a major source of vitamin D. This suspicion is born out by studies which show vitamin D levels in lupus patients dip even lower during cold seasons, when sunlight exposure is further reduced.
Whether vitamin D will prove to be effective in treating lupus remains to be seen; however, deficiency of this vitamin has wider implications than its lupus connection. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to cardiovascular disease, increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis–the list goes on. So, whatever a doctor’s belief may be about the merits of vitamin D supplementation in lupus, adequate levels of this vitamin in the bloodstream are essential to good health.
Vitamin D levels should be monitored by the physician. First, starting levels have to be determined, and then the rate of supplementation has to be adjusted as optimal levels in the bloodstream are achieved.
Reference articles which were helpful to me in collecting the information in this essay are:
Vitamin D and Autoimmune Thyroid Diseases: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21278761
Moore Evidence About Low Vitamin D Levels and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes:http://www.diabetescare.net/content_detail.asp?id=446425
Vitamin D: Intriguing Data: http://www.lupusresearch.org/research/lru/2012_vitamind.html
Vitamin D in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Patients and Its Association with Selected Clinical and Laboratory Parameters:http://lup.sagepub.com/content/21/5/477.full