RA body
Comments 2

Vitamin D deficiency and RA

The first doctor to test my vitamin D level was my oncologist. My level was 60 ng/ml. He suggested I lower my supplement amount. I lowered it to 2000U. My next test level was 16 ng/ml. He said,” Just keep doing what you were doing before you changed it.”  I raised my supplement to 4000 U and my blood levels have been normal since then. Without a supplement, I was deficient in vitamin D. I have rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin D deficiency is common in those with RA, type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Additional factors that influence vitamin D levels in those with RA include corticosteroid use. Drugs such as prednisone and Medrol can reduce calcium absorption and impair vitamin D metabolism. Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) is also linked to malabsorption of vitamin D.  I am on both drugs and I do take the above supplement.

Those with RA who have a deficiency of vitamin D will have difficulty concentrating, pain may worsen, fatigue and depression increase.

Vitamin D is a hormone involved in bone and calcium metabolism. It is also involved in regulatory activities of the immune system. It is very important to the proper functioning of the body.

Normal blood levels of vitamin D are between 30-40 ng/ml. Deficiency is a level less than 20 ng/ml. Toxic levels are levels greater than 150 ng/ml.

Natural sources are sunlight in the summer and fortified milk. Sardines, wild caught salmon, tofu, orange juice, yogurt and the many food products fortified with vitamin D.

For those with RA, vitamin D in the diet may not be enough.  A supplement might be needed. Have your doctor order a blood test for vitamin D and you will quickly know your level.


  1. Rick Phillips says

    I heard about this at ACR this past year. I came home and got tested, yes I was deficient as well. Will it help? Like the man at ACR said, it will not hurt.


  2. I believe Vit D has helped keep my level of pain from fibromyalgia stable the last few years. Thanks for this education.


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