Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Increased Risk Of Rheumatoid Arthritis In Women

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Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis in womenA new Boston University study has found that women living in the Northeast are more likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) due to a lack of exposure to sunlight, suggesting a possible link between the condition and vitamin D deficiency.

For the study, Veronica Vieira, associate professor of environmental health, and her colleagues compared the medical data of 461 women suffering from RA to a control group of 9,220 healthy participants.

They were surprised to discover that women residing in states like Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont were at a significantly increased risk of developing the autoimmune disease than were those from sunnier climates who could absorb vitamin D naturally.

"The results were unexpected," Vieira said. "Prior to the analysis, we were more interested in the relationship with air pollution. I hadn’t given latitudes much thought."

She added that decreased solar exposure and vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to several other autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.

Good sources of the vitamin D include fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. The nutrient is also available as a dietary supplement.
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