Is it possible that being deficient in Vitamin D has anything to do with increased disease activity and extreme fatigue? Media, PA
Good question and one which our group has been researching for several years, since finding that a majority of patients with lupus have low blood levels of vitamin D. These low levels are likely due to several causes, one of which is sun-avoidance since direct sunlight is a trigger of lupus flares but it is also our main source of vitamin D. We know that adequate vitamin D is important for bone health as well as balance/stability and we are still learning about the ways vitamin D influences immune system health. Dr. Guillermo Ruiz-Irastorza and his group in Spain studied the relationship between fatigue measurements in patients with lupus and their blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and concluded that very low vitamin D levels predicted higher fatigue scores. When vitamin D levels were increased by oral vitamin D3 supplements, fatigue among the patients improved. This is promising news that vitamin D supplementation for those patients who are vitamin D deficient may help with fatigue and several research studies of vitamin D are underway for us to learn more.