Good day to you all my fellow fighters! I hope you are all doing well and winning your battles.
I need to take a moment today to talk about vitamin D for arthritis, we have heard that vitamin D is vital for our health but are there any direct correlations with arthritis?
And where can we acquire worthwhile quality vitamin D supplements?
In this article, we will take a look at the answers to those questions.
In order to determine whether vitamin D can ease arthritis pain, we need to first expose how vitamin D behaves in the body and what it contributes to.
Approximately 100 years ago vitamin D was discovered as a cure for rickets, a bone disease in children. Vitamin D is critically important for our bone health.
One bone disease that becomes relevant to people with arthritis is osteoporosis.
Bones contain tissues that are constantly dissolving making way for new tissues to form. When osteoporosis is present the tissues are dissolving at a quicker rate than the body can replace them with.
This creates brittle bones which can be thin and prone to fracture.
The association with arthritis is that a countless number of people who have arthritis also take Prednisone which is a corticosteroid and an immune system suppressant, dispensed to patients to control inflammation.
A side effect of Prednisone is that it can induce osteoporosis, so if you are taking the medication then it may be useful to supplement with some vitamin D to help protect your bone health.
Staying with protecting the healthfulness of bones which is what is key here in terms of vitamin D for arthritis relief, calcium is crucial for building and sustaining strong bones.
A calcium deficiency can lead to conditions we have mentioned above such as osteoporosis and can result in children not reaching their full growth potential.
The beautiful link between these two (vitamin D & calcium) is that tests have demonstrated that vitamin D can aid the absorption of calcium in the body by up to 3 times.
That is a very powerful increase.
Even if you are someone like me who doesn’t need to take pharmaceuticals like Prednisone, it is still a good idea to strengthen joints by way of vitamin D.
Have you ever considered what effect your bad days have on your bones?
Those durations when you are laid up at home, inactive, will be the times that your bones are suffering. They aren’t being enhanced by force and movement being put through them.
I, as many of you know, have ankle arthritis so I see the effect of what my bad days and limping can have on my affected leg.
I have worked so hard in the gym to reform my leg, now we have a country lockdown due to COVID-19 and my calf muscle is disappearing again, quicker than it took to build.
Consequently, it is easy to see why bones would suffer as well, thankfully I use vitamin D supplements every day to keep them as optimal as possible.
People who have taken a vitamin D supplement have described an increase in mood and a relaxing of some anxieties.
What about the sun?
The bulk of you will have heard that the sun is the most natural source of vitamin D for us and you would be right.
Vitamin D is produced in the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight, haven’t you noticed how a lot of people seem more upbeat and lively in the summer?
In England, where I live, there isn’t an abundance of sunshine through the year as opposed to the Mediterranean countries who can have nearly 8 months a year of sunshine and in some places more than that.
So it is advantageous for all of us who are lacking adequate sun exposure to utilise supplements.
Perhaps that is another reason why the Mediterranean lifestyle is famed for reducing inflammation, yes the diet will contribute but I am willing to bet the amount of sunshine plays a huge part as well!
Another circumstance to highlight is it’s all well and good the sun shining but you have to get yourself outside and soak up the rays.
An individual could spend all day working in an artificially lit building then go home and sprawl out in front of the television, such has become our addiction to electronics and modern technology.
Is it possible to get vitamin D from food?
Certain foods do contain vitamin D but the range of foods is minimal.
Foods like salmon, tuna, cheese, egg yolk and some other dairy products contain vitamin D but compared to other vitamins there isn’t a very wide variety to go at. That being said, incorporating those foods mentioned will do some good.
What does the IU mean?
I will provide some links below for some reasonably priced superb quality vitamin D but before I do we will talk a little about IU as people will notice the letters on the bottles and wonder what it means.
IU stands for an international unit which is used as a measure for fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D as well as vitamins A and E.
So how many IU’s do you need a day?
This is where it can get a bit confusing and you really need to think about yourself and your variables, where you live, how much sun exposure you get.
It gets baffling because there are many conflicting opinions on how much is necessary to reach optimal levels. Variables to consider are;
- COUNTRY YOU RESIDE IN (LATITUDE)
- AMOUNT OF SUN EXPOSURE YOU GET
Age is cited because as we get older we can become more susceptible to things like osteoporosis, hip replacements in the elderly is an indicator of this point.
This is a sweeping generalisation though, I am aware there are plenty of seniors out there who are eating well, exercising and staying super strong. A lot of them will put people half there age to shame but I am speaking about the majority.
Where you live and the location of it geographically can help you decide how much, if any, vitamin D you need. Get on google and type in your location (town/city/village) and ask what the latitude of it is.
Latitude is essentially the height your location is at in the world.
It goes from -90 degrees to 90 degrees (the South Pole to the North Pole) and the point at 0 degrees is the equator line, people who live around this line will certainly get plenty of sunlight, places like Uganda, Kenya, Ecuador.
I live at 53 degrees north so you can see why it is important to supplement vitamin D intake.
When I talk about the volume of sun exposure as a variable I am going back to a previous detail. If you find you live in a country with so many hours of sunlight per day then think about how many hours you spend in it.
The reason is it’s all good living somewhere with a lot of sunshine but if you are hardly ever outside to get the benefit then you might as well be at the North Pole. Your skin needs to be outside in the sunlight in order to produce vitamin D.
The last variable is race. It has been reported that people with darker skin, for example, black and Hispanic people, don’t form as much vitamin D as paler skinned people.
I was actually at the opticians a few months ago and I got talking with the optometrist about vitamin D. He was an Asian man and he said he does not produce as much vitamin D as white people, so race is a variable to bear in mind.
They are the variables you need to consider when assessing how much vitamin D IU’s you need. The safe range that has been touted is between 1,000 – 4,000 IU a day.
That being said some studies have found that healthy individuals taking 20,000 IU a day showed no signs of toxicity. Like I said do some deliberating about the variables and see where you think you need to be.
One final thing to disclose is that a few studies have shown that individuals who are overweight or obese may need 2-3 times the amount of vitamin D that an average person needs.
If you are taking vitamin D without feeling many benefits and are overweight it could be that you aren’t supplementing enough.
High-quality vitamin D products to take a look at;
For those of you who are serious about optimising your joint and bone health you shouldn’t go far wrong with any of those products listed above, they are highly rated.
I personally take 5,000IU a day and I do believe it will be helping me stay strong and healthy. I have noticed that the stronger I am the less pain I am in.
SO STAY STRONG, STAY SAFE AND SPEAK SOON.