Vitamin D Decreases Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a well-known disease risk factor affecting both physical and mental health. One of the most common ways of measuring inflammation is by measuring levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood. Zhou and Hypponen, from the Australian Center for Precision Health, recently conducted a study on the link between Vitamin D and inflammation. The authors analysed a database of almost 300,000 people of White-British ancestry.

The analysis revealed the presence of an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and CRP – as vitamin D levels increased, CRP levels decreased. The relationship was only present at low levels of vitamin D. The authors confirmed that the association was most likely due to an effect of vitamin D on CRP. Vitamin D may lead to the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and inhibit the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.

The results suggest that supplementing with vitamin D, in order to prevent low Vitamin D levels, may reduce chronic inflammation and reduce the severity of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, neurodegenerative disease and other diseases with an inflammatory component.

Vitamin D and Alzheimer’s Disease

Unfortunately there is currently an absence of curative and preventative interventions for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Last year, Panza et al. reviewed the research on the links between vitamin D and AD. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with an accelerated decline in cognitive functions. They have also been associated with the development of chronic brain conditions such as AD and other dementias. As such, vitamin D is often thought of as a neurosteroid due to its effect on brain conditions. The authors believe more research is required to determine the effect of vitamin D supplementation on the prevention and/or treatment of AD.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Chronic Pain


Paul McCabe et al from the University of Manchester analysed data from the European Male Ageing Study and found that men with vitamin D deficiency at the start of the study were more than twice as likely to experience ongoing widespread pain over the next 4 years as those with high levels of vitamin D. It was noted that the men with chronic widespread pain were more likely to be physically active, obese, depressed and to have other health problems. Once these other factors were taken into account the link between vitamin D and pain disappeared.

However, John McBeth et al analysed data from the same study and found that even after adjusting for other health factors, pain remained moderately associated with increased odds of having low vitamin D levels. This is supported by a 5-year longitudinal study published last year by Laura Laslett et al in which vitamin D deficiency was found to predict incidence or worsening of knee pain and hip pain.

There seems to be a link between a deficiency of vitamin D and pain but could supplementation with vitamin D help to decrease pain? Between 2008 and 2010, Shreuder et al conducted a study in Holland and they did indeed find a small positive benefit (less pain and better function) after taking a high dose of vitamin D for 6 weeks.

What could the mechanism behind vitamin D and pain be? Tague et al found that vitamin D deficiency in rats can lead to a hyperinnervation of skeletal muscle which is likely to contribute to muscle hypersensitivity and pain.

Vitamin D is naturally present in a few dietary sources such as fish oils, mushrooms, eggs and liver. Other than supplements, sunlight exposure is the best source of vitamin D for most of people.