There’s increasing evidence to suggest that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in thyroid disorders and rheumatoid arthritis.
The signs of Vitamin D deficiency can range from bone pain and muscle weakness to depression and weakened immune system, while a longer-term deficiency can result in obesity, high blood pressure, psoriasis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Exposing your skin to the sun for 15-20 minutes each day can help increase your body’s own production of vitamin D and thus reduce your risk of diabetes and other serious medical conditions.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an important factor for overall health, particularly strong and healthy bones. It is also a vital player in ensuring that a number of important organs such as muscles, heart, lungs, and brain work well and the immune system is fit to fight against infections.
The body can make its own vitamin D from sunlight. However, adequate vitamin D can also be obtained from supplements and a small amount comes from a few foods. Vitamin D has to be changed by the body a number of times before it can be used.
What does vitamin D do?
Vitamin D is different from other vitamins. While the human body is dependent on various foods for adequate intake of these other vitamins, the body can make its own vitamin D from exposure of skin to sunlight. When the body gets its vitamin D, it turns the vitamin D into a hormone called activated vitamin D or calcitriol.
Vitamin D is very important for strong bones and is required to absorb minerals such as calcium and phosphorus. Without enough vitamin D, these minerals cannot be absorbed into the body. Vitamin D is important for general good health, and now researchers are discovering that it may be important for many other reasons outside of good bone health.
Some of the functions of the body that vitamin D has been linked with include:
- Immune system
- Muscle function
- Healthy heart and circulation
- Brain development
- Anti-cancer effects
Sources of Vitamin D
The main source of vitamin D is sun exposure—when skin soaks up ultraviolet rays it triggers the production of D. Concerns about skin cancer and the increasing use of sunscreen may be one of the reasons for the hike in low vitamin D levels.
Diet is an issue too. Very few foods are natural sources of vitamin D, and although a variety of common foods are fortified with D, they provide relatively small amounts.
Some of the better food sources of vitamin D include:
- Beef liver
- Cod liver oil
- Tuna fish
- Orange juice
Should everyone be taking vitamin D supplements?
Most peopleʼs skin will produce vitamin D in the summer but around a fifth of the population will still be deficient during this period. The situation is likely to be worse over winter.
Symptoms of lacking Vitamin D
- Chronic pain and achiness that lasts for weeks, such as that associated with rheumatoid arthritis
- Fatigue and weakness that doesn’t seem normal
- Excessive sweating, especially on your forehead
Vitamin D and Thyroid
People with hypothyroidism who took extra vitamin D supplements for 12 weeks had improvements in blood levels of thyroid stimulating hormone. Research has suggested a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune thyroid disorders, the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Some, but not all, observational studies have found low blood levels of vitamin D in patients with hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) as well as hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid). It is not clear from these studies if low vitamin D is a cause, a consequence or an innocent bystander in the development of these common thyroid conditions.
It is possible that low vitamin D may permit the under-performing immune system to facilitate the progression of thyroid disease. Equally, it is also possible that people with thyroid diseases may have altered health or lifestyle that leads to a low vitamin D state.
Vitamin D and Rheumatoid arthritis
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for building strong bones. Too little of this vital nutrient can lead to having thin, soft, and brittle bones, known as osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
Studies also have found that a lack of Vitamin D is linked to rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease characterized by swollen, aching joints, and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
Arthritis is one of the most common diseases in the United States with nearly 3 million cases per year. This disease causes inflammation in (usually) multiple joints, creating chronic pain and stiffness that can worsen with age. Arthritis cannot be cured but it can be treated thoroughly, ensuring that minimal pain and damage is done to our bodies.
What is Arthritis?
There are two main types of Arthritis and that is Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of this disease, it can cause damage to joint cartilage. With enough damage to the cartilage, bone begins to grind on bone and can cause severe pain and discomfort. For this case, medical treatments include physical therapy and proper medications to ease discomfort; but neither of these things can work miracles.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is similar in the fact that the treatment is relatively the same with different medications being the only real difference. With Rheumatoid Arthritis, the immune system attacks the membrane that encloses the joints. This can destroy cartilage and bone within any joint affected and like Osteoarthritis, it is not curable.
Besides the usual physical therapy and medication treatment, the only other way to properly manage this disease is by creating an adaptive lifestyle. This could mean using different, adaptive utensils or it could mean using specialty wraps and braces. Arthritis is commonly found in the elbow and often a simple compression wrap doesn’t do anything for the discomfort, but the Push med Elbow Brace can take its place. It’s designed to prevent overstretching and painful use of the joint, providing an easy-to-use design that includes a zipper for taking the brace off.
Other common areas that Arthritis affects are the ankles and wrists, but just like the elbow brace, there are braces for these areas as well. The Push med Aquei Ankle Brace provides strong support for improved stability and does not impair walking ability, it can be found in three sizes for an accurate and comfortable fit.
For the wrists, the Push med Wrist Brace is a unique immobilizer, providing people with arthritis wrist pain a comfortable solution. This wrist support is easy to put on and remove with one hand, so there’s no hassle like other braces or wraps. This wrist brace is designed to fit the contours of the wrist and hand, avoiding pressure to sensitive areas. The elastic band allows the wearer to adjust the support and this can be found in four sizes, with options for the left or right hand upon purchase.
Arthritis is a lifelong battle that’s mostly spent going uphill, but sometimes we can get ahead of it by doing the right therapies and providing the right treatments. Stay ahead of Arthritis by taking preventive measures and by using proper techniques to treat joint pain.
Much more research needs to be done before specific guidelines for using vitamin D to prevent or treat thyroid disease are established by the medical community. However, given the growing understanding of how important vitamin D is to overall health, it’s worth making sure you’re getting enough of it. You might even want to talk to your doctor about testing you for a deficiency, especially if you have a thyroid condition or are at risk for one.
Posted by Chelsea Shaffer For Your Comfort