During my first appointment with my specialist, he recommended I start taking Vitamin D for my autoimmune disease along with my other medications. I didn’t really know what it was for, I just did what I was instructed to do.
I’ve talked about all the different medications and treatments I’ve used to manage my myasthenia gravis like prednisone, mestinon and IVIg. Now I want to dig in to some vitamins and supplements that may be beneficial for autoimmune diseases.
The Link between Vitamin D and Autoimmune Diseases
Vitamin D is most known for bone health. You’ve seen those milk commercials claiming that drinking milk will give you strong bones because they fortify it with Vitamin D. But Vitamin D also plays a part in mood regulation, brain health and sleep quality.
That’s not all. There has been a lot of buzz recently championing Vitamin D for autoimmune diseases. Did you know that a shared characteristic among many autoimmune patients is a Vitamin D deficiency? Inflammation, (a common symptom in all chronic illnesses) is reduced with adequate levels of vitamin D.
How does Vitamin D Affect the Immune System
Vitamin D plays a role in regulatory T cells. T cells are the “killers” of the immune system. They decide whether to attack and promote inflammation in the body
T cells need Vitamin D to activate and if levels aren’t adequate the cells will not be able to react and fight off serious infections in the body.
In 2016, there was a case study done where a patient with myasthenia gravis actually went into remission after a high dose of Vitamin D. I have no clue what follow on trials have been conducted but if it’s as simple as a high dose of vitamin d to manage my autoimmune disease sign me up!
Ways to Get More Vitamin D
I gave you all this information and now you’re like wow! I gotta get more Vitamin D for my autoimmune disease. But how?
- Sunshine. Our bodies are designed to process Vitamin D from natural sunlight. No shock that we’re deficient. We spend less time outdoors than prior generations.
- Try to get 20 to 60 minutes of sun on your skin per day, depending on your skin tone and latitude. The more skin exposed, the more Vitamin D your body will naturally produce. (Don’t forget the sunscreen)
- Food. Adding foods high in vitamin D to your diet is another way to attack. Some good foods full of vitamin D are salmon (my personal fav), mackerel, tuna, sardines, and egg yolks.
- Supplements. I also take Vitamin D supplements for my autoimmune disease. There are two forms, D2 and D3. I don’t have all the details as far as which is better but my specialist told me D3 is more effective in raising vitamin D levels. I take my supplement in a gel form 5000ui/ daily. But talk with your doctor about appropriate dosage for you.
Please note that I am in no way saying that Vitamin D deficiency causes autoimmune diseases. I’m simply stating there’s a correlation and there are ways to address it.
Are you familiar with the link between Vitamin D and autoimmune diseases? Have you talked to you Dr about it? What’s your preferred method of upping your Vitamin D dosage? Let me know in the comments.