Vitamin D3

Deficiency linked to arthritis symptoms

Vitamin D3 – What is it?

Vitamin D, often called the “sunshine vitamin” is not actually a vitamin, but a hormone that is created in our skin after exposure to the sun. It is estimated that nearly 1 billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency and individuals older than age 55 are at higher risk for D3 deficiency, in part because their skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently.

Scientists have long known that vitamin D is used by the body to maintain strong bones. Indeed, rickets, a disease that results in bones that are soft and aren’t able to properly mineralize is caused by acute vitamin D deficiency.  Scientists are now learning that vitamin D also has a positive impact on joint joint pain as well.  Vitamin D has been documented to help bones respond better to injury. It has been proven to reduce the inflammation response and reduce chronic pain.  Vitamin D deficiency has also been implicated in the incidence and severity of rheumatoid arthritis and even moderate deficiency has been found to be a reliable predictor of worsening joint pain over a five year span.  While we don’t understand all of the reasons that vitamin D is an important ally in the fight against joint pain, suffice it to say that maintaining healthy levels of this hormone is a good preventative practice.

Sources of Vitamin D

Sunshine

Vitamin D is naturally synthesized in the skin after sun exposure

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as tuna, makerel or salmon are good sources of vitamin D

Fortified Foods

Many foods are fortified with vitamin D including orange juice, dairy products, and cereals

Cheese

Cheese has a dual benefit of being high in vitamin D and calcium

Egg Yolks

Also high in iron, egg yolks have a high vitamin D concentration as well

Testing for vitamin D deficiency

Your doctor can perform a simple test to determine if you are deficient in vitamin D.  If you are found to have low levels of vitamin D, your doctor will likely suggest supplementation along with food and sun exposure recommendations. A deficiency in vitamin D may take several months to correct. If you are dark-skinned, you will need 20-3o times more exposure to the sun in order to generate the same amount of vitamin D as a light-skinned person.

  • Percent of Chronic Pain Sufferers With Vitamin D Deficiency 71%
  • Percent of Americans Who Are Vitamin D Deficient 40%
  • Percent Reduction In Ability To Synthesize Vitamin D Caused By Sunscreen Use 95%

References

Ding, C., Cicuttini, F., Parameswaran, V., Burgess, J., Quinn, S. and Jones, G. (2009), Serum levels of vitamin D, sunlight exposure, and knee cartilage loss in older adults: The Tasmanian older adult cohort study. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 60: 1381–1389. doi: 10.1002/art.24486

Di Rosa, M., Malaguarnera, M., Nicoletti, F. and Malaguarnera, L. (2011), Vitamin D3: a helpful immuno-modulator. Immunology, 134: 123–139. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2567.2011.03482.x

Avenell A, Mak JCS, O’Connell D. Vitamin D and vitamin D analogues for preventing fractures in post-menopausal women and older men. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD000227. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD000227.pub4.

Vojinovic, J. (2014), Vitamin D receptor agonists’ anti-inflammatory properties. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1317: 47–56. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12429

von Känel, R., Müller-Hartmannsgruber, V., Kokinogenis, G. and Egloff, N. (2014), Vitamin D and Central Hypersensitivity in Patients with Chronic Pain. Pain Medicine. doi: 10.1111/pme.12454

Laslett LL, Quinn S, Burgess JR, Parameswaran V, Winzenberg TM, Jones G, Ding C. Moderate vitamin D deficiency is associated with changes in knee and hip pain in older adults: a 5-year longitudinal study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Apr;73(4):697-703. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2012-202831. Epub 2013 Apr 17. PubMed PMID: 23595144.