Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms could be PREVENTED by taking vitamin D supplements

Vitamin D may help to reduce the risk of developing inflammatory diseases, a study has claimed.

The vitamin worked by preventing the onset of inflammation - a key symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.

But, rheumatoid arthritis patients would need a much larger dose to gain a similar impact from vitamin D, the researchers from the University of Birmingham said.

The condition leads to vitamin D insensitivity, as inflamed joint immune cells didn’t respond as well to the vitamin.

“Our research indicates that maintaining sufficient vitamin D may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis,” said Dr Louisa Jeffery, a researcher working on the investigation.

“However, for patients who already have rheumatoid arthritis, simply providing vitamin D might not be enough. Instead much higher doses of vitamin D may be needed, or possibly a new treatment that bypasses or corrects the vitamin D insensitivity of immune cells within the joint.”

The findings had important implications for how scientists could treat inflammation in the future, they said.

Doctors should prescribe much higher doses of vitamin D to rheumatoid arthritis patients, they added.

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include stiffness, joint pain, tiredness and weight loss.

The condition affects about 400,000 people in the UK.

There is currently no cure for the arthritis - which is the second most common type of arthritis in the UK - but lifestyle changes could help to reduce symptoms.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could help to reduce joint pain, according the NHS.

Vitamin D deficiency can cause Britons to feel unwell in winter months, as skin can make large amounts of the vitamin when exposed to sunlight.

Eighty per cent of people go to work in the dark, and head home after sunset in winter months, it was revealed this month.

Not getting enough vitamin D causes tiredness, and feeling more grumpy and unmotivated.

Dr Sarah Brewer, GP said: “It’s worrying that so many people are not topping up their vitamin D during the cold months of the year. 

“Vitamin D is vital for immunity, as well as for bones, and deficiency is one reason why some people experience frequent coughs, colds, respiratory infections and even asthma attacks at this time of year.”

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