Are you vitamin D deficient? If you’re like most Americans, you probably are! After headlines brought attention to high levels of vitamin D deficiency throughout the United States, many studies have looked into the correlations and connections between vitamin D and chronic disease. In a new study researchers have found vitamin D plays a big role in the health of patients with a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases, especially within inflamed and achy joints.
Vitamin D levels are known to be essential in aiding inflammatory diseases like Crohn’s. Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that specifically affects the skeleton. While many people have never heard of AS, the side effects of AS are more common and include osteoporosis, lower serum vitamin D levels and high levels of a compound called ICTP, which is a component of collagen generated from damaged bone matrix. Within the AS population, serum vital D and ICTP levels can serve as helpful indicators in detecting bone loss. The study underlines the importance of vitamin D for bone health, proper immune functions, and chronic inflammation.
While the study doesn’t touch on important limitations like drug intake, dietary calcium, vitamin K, seasonality or even a longer look at vitamin D throughout disease stages, we do know that there’s a high level of serum vitamin D deficiency in patients with AS. Since many Americans are already deficient in vitamin D, it’s clear AS patients need even more help reaching their recommended levels of vitamin D through diet and sunlight. Is vitamin D a new helper to those Americans suffering from joint inflammation? Maybe. We do know that making sure you’re reaching your vitamin D needs greatly improves your health. And if you’re looking for a boost for your achy joints, you can also try these 10 supplements.
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Carlene Thomas RD,LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and wellness. She provides nutrition guidance to the public in a variety of ways including corporate wellness, private clients and contributes an expert nutrition voice to a variety of media.