Vitamin D deficiency may be the cause of chronic inflammation, according to a new study

Vitamin D deficiency may be the cause of chronic inflammation, according to a new study

  • A new study found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and inflammation.
  • The researchers found that correcting vitamin D deficiency in affected individuals could reduce inflammation and potentially mitigate the risk of chronic inflammatory diseases.
  • Experts explain what the study results mean and whether you should consider adding the supplement to your wellness routine.

If you’re experiencing chronic inflammation, vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

A new study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology shows a direct link between low levels of vitamin D and high levels of inflammation, providing an important biomarker for identifying those at increased risk or severity of chronic diseases with a component inflammatory

Researchers at the University of South Australia examined random genetic data from 294,970 unrelated participants of white-British ancestry from the UK Biobank. The researchers sought to show a correlation between levels of vitamin D and C-reactive proteins, which are indicators of inflammation.

Before this study’s findings, we knew that “when you don’t get enough vitamin D, it can result in higher levels of C-reactive protein, which is an indicator of inflammation,” says dietitian and nutritionist Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN . . But, this study tried to determine whether low levels of vitamin D actually cause inflammation.

The researchers found evidence to support the theory that vitamin D levels affect C-reactive protein levels, meaning that lower vitamin D levels do triggers the C-reactive protein response, an indicator of inflammation. The researchers also found no evidence to support CRP having an impact on vitamin D concentrations. This means that low levels of vitamin D cause inflammation, but not the other way around.

According to the study results, only individuals with low concentrations of vitamin D have high levels of C-reactive protein, which indicate higher inflammation. On the other hand, the study results also suggest that correcting vitamin D deficiency in affected individuals is likely to reduce inflammation and potentially mitigate the risk or severity of chronic diseases with inflammatory components. Therefore, the inflammation caused by vitamin D deficiency is reversible if vitamin D concentrations are returned to normal levels, according to the study.

Although this study has many strengths, it is also important to note some of its limitations. First, this study only looked at people with white-British ancestry, which is not indicative of the general population. And while C-reactive protein is a widely used inflammatory biomarker, it certainly cannot capture the full complexity of the immune system. Research of more specific biomarkers is needed to provide a more detailed understanding of the anti-inflammatory effects of the vitamin D hormone. Furthermore, UK Biobank is not representative of the general public in the UK, despite its large sample size.

So how can you make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D?

According to Newgent, “Most people can get plenty of vitamin D by following a nutritious eating plan combined with regular sunlight. Vitamin D is also called the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, after all!”

If your skin is not adequately exposed to sunlight or if you are over 65, you may need vitamin D supplements. Also, if you have certain health conditions, your doctor or dietitian (RD or RDN) may advise you to also take vitamin D as a supplement.

There are many foods rich in vitamin D that you can also try incorporating into your anti-inflammatory diet. Here are some of the foods Newgent recommends that are rich in vitamin D:

  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Mushrooms, such as white button, crimini and portabella, when exposed to ultraviolet light
  • Choose fortified plant-based foods, such as plant-based milk and yogurt, tofu, cereal, and orange juice
  • Fortified milk and yogurt
  • salmon

If you want to get more vitamin D from just fruits or vegetables, “mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D you’ll find in the produce department!” says Newgent.

The bottom line

“This study adds to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D is vital for good health, but it doesn’t mean that taking a vitamin D supplement is a definitive way to prevent inflammation,” Newgent explains. .

Living a healthy lifestyle and getting plenty of sunshine is still the best way to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. And while we now know that vitamin D deficiency can cause inflammation, it’s not the only cause and more research is needed to explore the link between the two.

Dietary supplements are products intended to complement the diet. They are not medicines and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure disease. Be careful when taking dietary supplements if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, be careful when giving supplements to a child unless recommended by their health care provider.

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