Two new European studies have found that vitamin D deficiencies are extremely common among individuals suffering from several different rheumatic diseases.
In the first study, a team of UK researchers assessed the vitamin D levels of 180 patients who were recently diagnosed with an inflammatory joint disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis or unexplained muscle pain. They found that 58 percent of respondents had vitamin D levels that were clinically insufficient.
For the second study, Dr. Luca Idolazzi, of the University of Verona in Italy, and his colleagues analyzed the blood work of 1,191 rheumatoid arthritis patients, discovering that 85 percent of those who were not taking supplements had lower than recommended serum levels of vitamin D.
These patients scored significantly worse on three disease activity assessments compared to those who took vitamins on a daily basis. Patients whose disease was in remission had, on average, the highest vitamin D levels.
"We have seen in studies that vitamin D deficiency is common in patients with a range of rheumatic diseases, and our results have confirmed this using several clinically accepted measures of disease activity," said Idolazzi. "What we need to see now is a range of long term studies, which examine the clinical response of patients to vitamin D supplementation."