Lupus and Vitamin D: The relationship

This blog post is meant to inform you with published research and information currently available about the relationship between Lupus and Vitamin D. While ultimately, there is information that supports Vitamin D intake for Lupus Patients, we strongly encourage you to speak with your doctor before trying any supplements or vitamins. 

What is Vitamin D? Why is it Important?

Vitamin D is a key micronutrient that essential in the assistance of numerous physiological processes in your body.  In other words, it is a nutrient that provides a lot of key roles in keeping body in balance through many systems.

Some benefits from Vitamin D:

  • Development of strength and structure for your bones— Calcium and phosphorus are key minerals for bone development, but Vitamin D is essential to absorb these nutrients. Even if you have a lot of calcium and phosphorus in your body, you need Vitamin D to help uptake them for use.
  • Muscle Function: A study published by the Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) found that Vitamin D has a strong role in the aid of of muscular performance and neural plasticity (this is the process of brain’s neural synapses are changed over time). This study suggests that Vitamin D plays a stronger role in muscular function, but more information and research is being done to strengthen this finding. However, this study does support that Vitamin D has a beneficial role in muscle function.
  • Immune System: to prevent and fight infections. Vitamin D is a regulator in our Immune Systems. Key cells in our immune system have vitamin D receptors on their surface to as a regulator aid in immune system function. We will go over the affect of Vitamin D and its role for Autoimmune systems later.

Vitamin D is special, because it is the only Vitamin our body can produce on its own.  We mostly produce Vitamin D after our skin is exposed to the sun. Other vitamins we need are mostly taken from our diet and foods (such as Vitamin C, which we can get a lot from oranges) Only small amounts of Vitamin D that are body needs is from our foods.

How does Vitamin D effect Lupus Patients and Lupus Symptoms?

As mentioned earlier, Vitamin D is essential for the Immune System and its function.  Research has shown that there is a negative correlation between Lupus Flare and levels of Vitamin D.  In other words, for people with lupus, flares were less likely to occur when levels of Vitamin D were high, and vice versa. Although Vitamin D levels is fully attributed for the cause of Lupus, research suggests that having an optimal level of Vitamin D can benefit Lupus symptoms by reducing flares.

According to the Vitamin D council, people with lupus are more likely to have lower levels of Vitamin D. This attributed to Lupus patients avoiding the sun (due to photosensitivity), however this is not the sole cause.

How can I test for my Vitamin D levels?

There are multiple, convenient ways to accurately test for a vitamin D deficiency:  

  • Testing at your Doctor’s Office: Your doctor will provide at 25(OH)D Blood test. Also known as a as 25-Hydroxyvitamin D, his is done through a blood sample and cannot be done at home. More information about this here.
  • At-Home Test:This is an option for you if you prefer the comfort of your own home, or you cannot be tested in a clinical setting. These tests are sent to your home. You prick a drop of blood on a piece of paper, and send it out to a lab to be tested.  
  • Online Test and Blood Work at a Lab: If the above options do no work for you, there is also an option to purchase an in-home vitamin D test online, then have it sent to the nearest lab. The Vitamin D council recommends certifying the lab first, but you can find more information on this here  

What is a good level of Vitamin D?

The Vitamin D  council recommends Lupus Patients to take between 30ng/ml to 40 ng/ml, depending on your current level of Vitamin D levels.  However, you should always consult with your doctor to understand what amount is correct for you!   

We recommend investigating further through this article, written by the Vitamin D council to understand the dosage amounts.  

How can I increase Vitamin D intake? 

As noted earlier, only trace amount of vitamin D is taken in from food. There are three main ways we get Vitamin D:  

  • Exposing Skin to Sunlight 
  • Vitamin Supplements  
  • FOOD! (Dietary intake)

According to Molly’s Fund, the amount of sun exposure recommended is about 20-25 mins per day.  

Supplements is a nice option because it can be controlled to individual needs.  

Our product, LupaVita, provides about 5000 IU of Vitamin D. This is designed for the convenience of Lupus patients. With supporting research that higher levels of Vitamin D has been shown beneficial to reducing flare for lupus patients, we created a pill that would put all the benefits and vitamins for lupus patients in one convenient pill.  

To learn more about our product, check out our info here.  

Where can I get more research?  

The Vitamin D council is a great source for information, specifically for SLE Lupus Patients  

The Lupus Foundation of America also has some great resources as well.  

The Lupus Encyclopedia, by Dr. Donald Thomas, is also a useful resource for information on Lupus. You can check out more information here.

Key Takeaway: Why does Vitamin D matter to you?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for normal body functions. Although it is often found at lower levels in lupus patients, research as supported that Lupus patients can benefit from taking in Vitamin D supplements.  

We hope this article was helpful for you in providing the basic knowledge of vitamin D and its efficacy.