Known to promote bone health, vitamin D might also play a role in treating ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a serious condition that causes inflammation of spinal joints.
Vitamin D boosts the immune system, the bodily system responsible for the inflammation in AS. According to new research, vitamin D levels may affect AS activity as well as the functional status and quality of life in AS patients.
How Do Vitamin D Levels Vary?
In a recent study, scientists compared the following characteristics in AS patients to those of healthy volunteers:
• Vitamin D levels
• Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate or ESR (measures how quickly red blood cells settle)
• C-Reactive Protein or CRP (inflammation levels)
• Bath AS Disease Activity Index or BASDAI (measures disease activity)
Participants with the lowest levels of vitamin D (including insufficient and deficient) had the highest scores in the other three areas. In other words, the lower a person’s vitamin D levels, the higher their pain scores. Additionally, quality of life and functionality were significantly lower for patients with low levels of vitamin D.
What’s the Best Source for Vitamin D?
The best source of vitamin D is the sun. But you can also find it in these foods:
• Fish (particularly cod, salmon and mackerel)
If you are an AS patient, talk to your doctor about the benefits of vitamin D for you and whether it can help relieve your symptoms.