Vitamin D is an amazing little group of “fat-soluble secosteroids” that is responsible for maintaining normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. As with many vitamins that our body needs for proper function, vitamin D is showing researchers how important it is in terms of heart health and disease control, especially for those living with lupus.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is one of those awful diseases where the body literally turns against itself. Instead of protecting the body, our very own immune system attacks our tissues and organs, affecting everything from the joints to skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain and heart. Unfortunately, diagnosing and treating lupus are extremely difficult. Even determining a person’s risk factors can be tricky for physicians. However, there are some causes that have been identified such as inherited predisposition combined with exposure to the sun, blood pressure medication, or anti-seizure medications.
Like many other autoimmune disorders, where the body attacks itself, lupus is more often diagnosed in women between the ages of 15 and 40.
Vitamin D and Lupus
A recent study, and according to WebMD one of the first of its kind, how found a link between vitamin D and lupus. In the small study, researchers took a look at symptoms of lupus such as skin rashes, fatigue, and fever, to see if with vitamin D those symptoms improved.
According to WebMD, volunteers were given an injection of 100,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 once a week for four weeks. Following that, they received a monthly shot of the same dose of vitamin D for six more months.
Remarkably, the vitamin D injected into the body actually facilitated in production of ‘protective’ immune cells and ‘dampened some abnormal immune cells,” ultimately slowing down the entire lupus process.
While the study was the first of its kind and done on a very small scale, the results are encouraging. Physicians are quick to point out the importance of speaking with your family doctor regarding any vitamin D deficiencies or vitamin D supplements.