We mostly get our Vitamin D from the sun, but the vast majority of people with Lupus have a tendency to avoid the sun for obvious reasons (cue horrid photosensitivity symptoms…). As a result, some people living with Lupus have a Vitamin D deficiency.
Lupus affects the way the body absorb nutrients. Firstly, our immune system murders anything foreign, like vitamins. Secondly, Lupus has a real fondness for kidneys. Lupus loves to mess with the kidneys, and the kidneys are the magic tools for absorbing most of our nutrients.
In this article, you will learn about vitamin D, its benefits, how it’s significant for Lupus patients, and how to get more of it.
Related: Understanding Lupus Nephritis
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine” vitamin because we cannot get ample amounts of it from food. We make this vitamin by absorbing sunlight using cholesterol in our bodies.
Why is Vitamin D So Important?
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the body’s muscles and immune system. Many genes encode proteins that regulate cell proliferation (cell growth), and apoptosis (cell death). These are all controlled in part by vitamin D.
Vitamin D can:
- Be used as an antidepressant
- Reduce asthma symptoms
- Help balance the immune system
- Strengthen bones
- Fight brain fog
- Help fight cancer
- Boost fertility
- Protect the heart
- Calm inflammation
- Improve sleep
Related: 4 Benefits of Glutathione for Lupus
Lupus and Vitamin D
The significance of vitamin D deficiency in Lupus is not entirely known. However, It has been linked to the possible prevention of autoimmune diseases and their symptoms.
Kamen et al., found that Vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent in patients with darker skin pigmentation. Out of 123 recently diagnosed patients with Lupus, levels were significantly lower among African–Americans than among Caucasians. Overall, 67% of patients with Lupus were Vitamin D deficient. Severe deficiency was noted in about 18% of patients and was associated with renal disease and photosensitivity.
Another study performed by Costenbader et al., suggests that repletion of Vitamin D may have benefits beyond bone health for patients diagnosed with Lupus.
Ultimately, there is optimism that correcting Vitamin D deficiency will lead to better outcomes for patients with Lupus.
How To Get More Vitamin D
The body primarily absorbs Vitamin D through the sun’s rays, so many people with Lupus often find themselves at a disadvantage in maintaining healthy levels. However, there are some foods that can help.
Here are 10 foods you can eat that contain high Vitamin D levels:
- Cod liver oil
- Raw grass-fed milk
- Organic eggs
You can also try to take supplements for Vitamin D. However, if you only take them until your levels normalize and then stop, you will just watch them drop again and find yourself in a vicious cycle. The solution is to wean your body off the supplements after you have gotten your levels normalized.
To sum up, the remedy for a Vitamin D deficiency is not just about replacing what your body is missing, but about training your body to do what it should be doing. Check your Vitamin D levels, eat foods high in Vitamin D, and take supplements, if needed.
Photo by Kent Pilcher