Vitamin D and Rheumatoid ARthritis

Question

I was first diagnosed with sero-negative RA approx 8 years ago. After 7 years of methotrexate (1 mil injections) supplemented with Arava and the usual medications my RA continuted to get worse and I’ve had no remissions. So, last year I stopped all DMARDs in favour of Vitamin D (100,000 IU per month). Whilst this has had no effect on my RA (it’s now in every joint except one) I have noticed a marked improvement in my ability to sleep – now getting 5-6 hours per night rather than 2-3, which has resulted in me being able to handle the pain better (rather than it improving). Is there any news on the benefit of vitamin D – my Rheumatologist says in large quantities it has a proven anti-flammatory factor, hence her agreement to let me try it.

Answer

HI Liz,

Vitamin D is becoming the wonder drug of the decade.  The more we learn about the functions of vitamin D, the more we want people to have adequate levels in their blood.  There are some data suggesting that low vitamin D levels are associated with more active RA.  However, the only real way to know this for sure is in a double blinded placebo controlled study in which vitamin D is compared to a placebo.  We are one of the institutions looking into this.  Anyway, yes, it is possible that you are feeling better because your vitamin D levels are up.

Joan Bathon, M.D.

About Joan Bathon, M.D.

Dr. Bathon was a Co-Deputy Director of the Division of Rheumatology at Hopkins Bayview. She was also the founder and director of the Hopkins Arthritis Center.