Call Us!

FREE SHIPPING for orders over $125

  • 800-633-1106
  • 100 Park Ave, New York, NY 10017

Vitamin D: A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Agent

Vitamin D: A Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Agent

Key Takeaways

Vitamin D as an anti-inflammatory agent:
  • Reduces Inflammation: Regulates cytokine production and inhibits proinflammatory cells.
  • Supports Joint Health: Slows progression and alleviates symptoms of conditions like osteoarthritis.
  • Enhances Immune Response: Plays a vital role in the body’s defense against pathogens.
Check out our selection of vitamin D products.

Article by Arnie Gitomer May 30, 2023

As we learn more about how the human body works, it’s thought that inflammation may be an underlying cause for many conditions and can also worsen others. Inflammation is the activation of the body’s immune cells in response to injury and infection.

When injury and infection are present, we expect to see inflammation. It is necessary to support a proper healing response. But when it persists, it can contribute to the development of many health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Vitamin D has been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing inflammation. Vitamin D is also known as a key nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium. Most people know they need vitamin D and calcium for strong bones and teeth. And while the benefits of vitamin D for strong bones and teeth have long been known, its other health benefits are just being understood. It contributes to the regulation of many cellular functions in the body. Vitamin D is also an antioxidant, and has neuroprotective properties that promote immune system health, muscle function, and brain activity.

How Vitamin D Reduces Inflammation

Vitamin D reduces inflammation by regulating the production of cytokines and inhibiting proinflammatory cells. Because of its effects on inflammation, supplementation with vitamin D has been found to aid the clinical response to acute infections. It can also assist with the treatment of many chronic inflammatory diseases, such as:
  • Atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease
  • Asthma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Fatty liver disease is not caused by excessive drinking

Vitamin D also plays a vital role in the body’s immune response to some pathogens, which represents another way it works as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Vitamin D and Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis impacts over 27 million people in the United States. It is defined as the inflammation of one or more joints and commonly affects the joints in the hand, spine, knees, and hips. It can result in loss of cartilage in the joints. Those who suffer from osteoarthritis often have symptoms that include joint pain and stiffness, swelling, warm and tender joints, and restricted movement in impacted joints.

Treatment for osteoarthritis commonly includes pain medication, physical therapy, and surgery to reduce inflammation and pain. Unfortunately, these strategies focus on mitigating the effects of prolonged inflammation related to osteoarthritis. They do not address the underlying inflammation.

Recently, a study considered the interaction between circulating blood levels of vitamin D and parathyroid hormone on the progression of osteoarthritis in adults with this condition in the knee. This study found that participants with low vitamin D levels had more than double the risk of knee osteoarthritis worsening than those with normal vitamin D levels in circulating blood. Therefore, the study concluded that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for the progression of those with osteoarthritis in the knee.

As vitamin D works as an anti-inflammatory agent, it makes sense that it can slow the progression and alleviate symptoms of joint conditions that are made worse by inflammation, such as osteoarthritis. This nutrient can be the key to helping relieve symptoms for those suffering from this condition.

Getting Sufficient Vitamin D

A person’s vitamin D levels depend on many factors, particularly the season and amount of time spent outdoors since the body can naturally make vitamin D when direct sunlight changes a chemical in the skin to an active form of vitamin D. In addition to vitamin D produced by the body, you may also boost vitamin D levels by eating foods rich in vitamin D. If you are unsure whether you get sufficient vitamin D, you can request a simple test from your physician that will tell you if you have a deficiency.

Many older adults don’t get sufficient exposure to sunlight and may have trouble absorbing vitamin D. Additionally, conditions such as osteoarthritis may contribute to nutritional deficiencies. Further, achieving the optimal dose of vitamin D to address a deficiency or reduce inflammation can be a bit of a challenge for the following reasons:
  • Relying on sun exposure alone is problematic since prolonged sun exposure is linked to a greater risk of developing skin cancer, including melanoma. Wearing sunscreen is not a solution, either, since this skin protectant can reduce the amount of vitamin D your body produces.
  • It can be hard to get sufficient vitamin D through diet as very few foods contain it. Foods that contain vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, and fortified foods, such as cereal, juice, and milk. The average daily intake from diet is only about 200 to 300 IU

Supplementation is often necessary to treat those with vitamin D deficiencies. Generally, supplements containing approximately 2,000 IU of vitamin D-3 a day should be sufficient to maintain normal levels.

The evidence is clear that vitamin D reduces inflammation and can be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions. If you suspect vitamin D could help you alleviate symptoms of inflammatory disease, you should consult with your physician as soon as possible for a vitamin D test. If you are deficient, adding more vitamin D to your regimen can significantly optimize your physical performance and reduce symptoms.