Vitamin D

Still feeling considerably better than I have for a long time. The improvement was so sudden & came a couple of days after a fair bit of exposure to the sun. Since then I've been reading up about possible links between RA and Vitamin D deficiency. Some studies seem to suggest that low Vitamin D levels might be a cause of Ra and many more emphasise that people with persistent disease activity are especially likely to be deficient in Vitamin D.

Well of course it's raining now but as soon as the sun reappears I'll be out there continuing my scientific research i.e. sunbathing. It's tough work but someone's got to do it ..... I'll let you know my findings! Seriously, I think maybe loads of us would do well to consider getting more rays if the drugs will allow or failing that a supplement and more Vitamin D-rich foods.

Just need the weather to cooperate ........ Luce xx

29 Replies

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  • Hi, Woolly, I'm all for trying anything which may work that isn't a drug but I've been living in Saudi Arabia since September and have had lots of sun but the pain in my feet and ankles has got worse rather than better. Admittedly, when I was in the UK for December and January, they were agony so there may be something to it! I hope that it works for you. Enjoy that sun when it reappears! Clemmie

  • I know it can't be as simple as sun = cure, if only it was! Must be interesting living in Saudi though Clemmie. Hope the sun helps gradually or that something does. x

  • Hi Luce liking the sound of your research. Sitting on bum doing nothing. Very pleased to hear your feeling brighter now. If it will help i will pop outside and do a sun dance !!!!!!!!! xx

  • Sitting on bum doing nothing, you've definitely grasped my research technique! x

  • Defo need to do moor research !!! xx

  • Don't forget the sun dance tomorrow if you get the chance. x (Never mind what the neighbours think!)

  • Will gladly go for it. Mind if it starts to rain like it did this eve will need waders .................xx

  • Mine was low, and I feel noticeably different in sunny weather. I try and spend as much time outdoors as possible. Keep up the good work!

    Dotty x

  • I'm going to ask for my levels to be tested. I gather that the lowest acceptable level is being questioned i.e. we may need to have much higher levels to notice a difference. I actually got a really nice dress out of the wardrobe that I haven't worn for years & ponced around in it even though it showed my swollen knees, not caring 'cos I was on a mission to catch some rays. That did me good in itself! x

  • Up here we have the highest levels of MS in the world and there is thought to be a strong connection. I try to get out a lot but its not compatable with me work unless its a hell of a lot warmer than its been here. In the mean time keep up the research you valiant woman! Tx

  • So much stuff on the internet about Vitamin D & a lot of it is research as well as the 'natural health' type sites. Focusing on something positive that is not a DMARD or anti-tnf has done wonders for my ability to look forward & feel more human somehow. Am currently working on the sitting around with friends talking rubbish & drinking wine (okay, not much wine) therapy. x

  • Where is "up here" Tilda? I live in the north west of Ireland and my clematis Montona hasn't bloomed yet......what is going on. So far this year I have had one day that it was possible to sit in the garden under the umbrella, one!

    Because my RA is so unpredictable there will be no holiday this year so if the sun doesn't come out this summer, again, then I will have to wait until next year. RA or not I am definatly going on holiday next year, even if I have to go I a wheelchair I'm going somewhere. Haven't had a break since diagnose three years ago......wouldn't you say I deserve one?????

    Anyhow, those of you that have it.......enjoy the sun.x

  • Yes I feel the same way about deserving although I did have a wonderful week in Tuscany in October but it wasn't terribly restful for other reasons so now I crave sunshine and warmth too. Orkney is up here and vitamin D deficiency is a huge issue here I feel. We've still got our daffs but tulips are coming through and about to flower. West of Ireland is meant to be a gardener's paradise. Hopefully it will just be a late starter for you too and when the summer lands it will land with a vengeance! X

  • Orkney, well you really are 'up there' aren't you. You had a week in Tuscany, the very thought of it makes me 'feel' the warmth.

    I traveled through Europe when I turned 50, on my own, backpacking for a year. Italy just kept calling me back, I went back three times, I simply love the country and the people.

    I was in Assisi for a while and one day I was walking up the hill the the monoestary and I stopped by an olive grove to sit and look at the view below...... I fell asleep under an olive tree and it must have been an hour later when the local farmer very gently woke me and laughed at me. He was so nice and rather than be embarrassed I just laughed with him. It was one of my fondest memories of my year in Europe.

    A small hotel in Tuscany is heaven, simply heaven on earth....

    There now, I'm back now and looking out the window i see......rain and lots of it but for that minute I could feel the sun and the mildest of breezes on my face.........

  • Well I envy you your fiftieth year! Mine has so far been pretty hard going - apart from a wonderful 50th birthday party on the coldest and windiest weekend of the decade - maybe even the century! If its not joints its belly and if its not both then there's always something else like a phenominally itchy scalp to keep me awake! But in quest of sunshine and good health I'm off out to do some stitching work in our garden right now. Just eaten sardines and anchovies with a homemade carrot and lentil soup. Jumper on and gloves at the ready!

    To comtinue being inspired by Luce and this blog a friend is coming over for tea and chat at 2pm and then I'm off to Zumba (for a burst of energy I haven't found yet!) and afterwards wine and sleep. If I don't collect some vit d somewhere on route then there's no hope for me!

  • Sounds like a plan Tilda. I think I should explain about my year back packing aroundEurope......that was 13 years ago!!!!!!

    Theses days I live a sedentary life style. You make me tired just listening to you. It is pouring here, the two dogs are curled in a ball at my feet. They keep looking at me as if to say 'cant you do something about this rain?' Enjoy your day out.x

  • That's interesting, a college colleague moved to South Uist after his degree and within a year his wife developed MS. Wonder why it is happening? I have always had mild background auto immune symptoms but only really got ill when I moved from the South West to Yorkshire. I'm sure I would feel better if I could move back home but it's not possible :-( xxx

  • Mmm my cousin moved to Stornaway and developed ms! Strange eh xx

  • I like it Luce. I will aim to follow suit - you are an influence for the very good! X

  • Woolly, I think the sun always makes everyone feel better mentally anyway and then you can cope more easily with what is thrown at you every day. I am certainly making the most of the sun here and my feet and ankles are starting to feel a bit less painful. I hope that the sun comes back where you are very soon. It's been such a long winter, hasn't it? We've been having thunderstorms here with flooding. The locals say they've never seen it so bad - I think I brought it from the UK with me! I hope that I can take some sun back when I visit at the end of the month. I like the idea of the wine therapy and will certainly indulge in some of that when I go home- cant get that here as it is banned ( and so looking forward to bacon sandwiches although I don't think there's much Vitamin D in those so no excuse for that) Clemmie

  • Hiya,love the theory. My vitamin D levels are very high,I think because I spend a lot of time in Tenerife. I do feel better there but I think you do when the sunshines. Anyway I will tear myself away from chores the minuite we get some sun to help you with your research, after all that's what friends are for. So sun glass of wine & can I suggest a good book,pain what pain x

  • Hi, i was told that lack of vit D had an affect with RA, but when im out in the sun my feet end up flaring up, my Vit D is low so im told. so i dont know why i flare up with the sun. x

  • But how much mackerel can you eat? I think you'd need to eat it non-stop to be as effective as a sunny afternoon? But if you're still feeling good that's great, whether it's sun or sulpha that's responsible. I'm so high up that I reckon even with only tiny bits of skin exposed I should get enough if the sun would only appear from behind the rain clouds for more than a millisecond. Instead I think I'm getting mildew. Px

  • Think I get SAD !! Cos I love sunny summer days aaaaaahhhhh , sitting in the warm, how lily that old be , but as long as its warm o Glastonbury this year lol xx

  • I do think that vitamin D3 and sunshine can have a positive effect for everyone by appartently kick starting our immune system by activating TCells or something like that - sunshine during the summer and supplements from Oct - April but i think it's only part of an answer. It may help prevent futher damage or may help the body correct itself. I don't think you can get enough in your food according to what i have read. A good site to look for information which seems quite balanced is:

    vitamindcouncil.org

    Something to keep an eye on over the next two years is the exciting research being done in Birminghan as part of Arthrits Research grant. The link is

    arthritisresearchuk.org/res...

    and do read the press release also. I include an extract below:

    "Published on 24 May 2010

    Scientists in Birmingham are about to embark on the first stage of research which could see vitamin D used alongside, or even instead of, current treatments for rheumatoid arthritis.

    Dr David Sansom and Dr Karim Raza in the department of immunology at the University of Birmingham believe their work exploring how the popularly-used supplement affects the immune system - and in particular whether it can prevent rheumatoid arthritis developing - holds real promise for patients.

    The Birmingham team is the first in the world to use vitamin D - found in oily fish, and through sunlight - as a way of altering the body’s immune system in this way.

    The Birmingham team, with funding of £222,000 over three years from Arthritis Research UK, now plans to perform laboratory studies to find out whether vitamin D can alter the aggressive immune response found in rheumatoid arthritis and turn it into a less harmful or even a protective one.

    “We know that many people with arthritis have low levels of vitamin D and we have recently found that vitamin D can have powerful effects on the type of immune cells which may cause rheumatoid arthritis,” explained reader in rheumatology Dr Sansom. “This study will help us understand a lot more about how this happens. This is the first stage in considering whether vitamin D could be used as a treatment alongside or instead of current treatments.”

    Dr Sansom stressed that it may take between three and five years to develop the research sufficiently to permit clinical trials, and that it may be necessary to combine vitamin D with other drugs to get better effects. ..."

    Good luck with it.

    Emma

  • Thought I was being a bit fanciful making a connection between two days sunbathing & feeling so good but seems I needn't have worried!

    Something I've been wondering is how often you need to 'top up' because if Vitamin D is going to help with RA I imagine it would be best to maintain the best possible levels for quite a while (?) Have just read through the Vitamin D Council site from Emma's link & they recommend taking a supplement every day unless you can get at least 15 minutes' good exposure to the sun. So I'm going to see my GP about a test & supplement - although just a supplement would do as I'm quite dark-skinned & I'm sure I've not been getting enough Vitamin D. Does anyone?

    All we need now is the necessary & I've just got drenched in stinging cold rain .... but we will get a summer, won't we?? Thanks for the great replies. xx

  • You guys sound like you have as many problems with Vit D as we do here in Tasmania... and its funny Tilda mentioned MS because here also has a very high rate of MS. We have similar weather to France (good wine too :) ) so I am guessing its not much different to some spots of the UK. We did a study and even our farmers who are outside all day have low Vit D's. The sunlight that both countries get is probably lacking in UVB rays and thats bad for us RAers because among other reasons, we need our bone density in case we have to have a joint replacement.

    On a personal note, my level was 20 and I didnt see much difference to my aching joints when I got it back up to normal, but I still think your way of doing scientific research has to be the best one there is :)

    -gail

  • Hi there Gail,

    quite a few sources I've read think that the lower reaches of 'normal' levels are still too low & that high as possible is the way to go.

    And one site (can't remember which one just now) had some complicated info. on the angle of the sun in different parts of the world suggesting that there might be more to all this than simple exposure to sun (I think I switched off at that point!).

    You learn a lot on this site! I'd assumed Tasmania's climate was more similar to Australia than France. Tilda lives in Orkney which is nearer to Norway (I think!) than to the South of England or mainland Europe & there are only a few hours of daylight in winter. So quite a different climate from where you are which makes the MS rates difficult to understand.

    But anyway I'm going to google Tasmania now 'cos it just sounds interesting! xx

  • Haha yes there are many aspects to the Vit D and sun debate.

    We are much colder than the mainland and there are only abt 500,000 here so we dont have the resources here that the mainland has. Come back on and let me know what you think when you research Tassie :)

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