(HealthDay News) — For patients with active rheumatoid arthritis and vitamin D deficiency, vitamin D supplementation is associated with improved disease activity within a short period, according to a study published online Oct. 20 in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.
S. Chandrashekara, M.D., and Anand Patted, M.D., from the ChanRe Rheumatology & Immunology Center & Research in Bangalore, India, and colleagues examined the correlation between vitamin D deficiency and active RA. Data were collected in an open-label intervention study involving 150 RA patients. Participants with low vitamin D levels and Disease Activity Score of 28 joints/C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP) >2.6 were supplemented with vitamin D for 12 weeks.
The researchers found that 49 percent of the participants had DAS28-CRP >2.6 and serum vitamin D <20 ng/mL. Patients received 60,000 IU/week vitamin D supplementation for six weeks, followed by 60,000 IU/month for a total of three months. At the end of three months, disease activity and vitamin D status were assessed for 80.8 percent of patients (59 patients). There was a significant improvement in the mean DAS28-CRP of the patients, from 3.68 ± 0.93 at baseline to 3.08 ± 1.11 after supplementation (P = 0.002). During the same period, serum vitamin D level improved significantly (P < 0.001).
“Supplementation of vitamin D in RA patients with persisting disease activity and vitamin D deficiency contributed to significant improvement in disease activity within a short duration,” the authors write.