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Vitamin D: How Does It Affect Autoimmune Diseases?

Vitamin D used to be considered as the Vitamin that protects us from the unpleasant consequences of osteoporosis. Its beneficial properties, however, are not limited to this, but affect multiple systems of the body. Vitamin D is associated with low mortality from any factor, and it has been argued to be one of the most important parameters for maintaining and enhancing our good health. In fact, it has been directly related to the strengthening of our defense system.

Upgraded from a simple vitamin, it is classified into the so-called nuclear hormones, such as cortisol and estrogen. Nuclear are defined as those hormones that function directly on the genome, affecting the function of a large percentage of genes. Thus, Vitamin D also intervenes, through its binding to intranuclear receptors, in the expression of target genes, having a catalytic effect on our immune system.

As a result, low levels of Vitamin D in the blood have been linked to an increased risk of developing a host of diseases, including autoimmune diseases such as MS and rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, scientists have claimed that Vitamin D regulates immune responses which are involved in the development of autoimmune diseases, according to a publication in Frontiers in Immunology. This claim can be adequately explained by the fact that adequate levels of Vitamin D in the body boost the body’s immunity. Therefore, if its levels are within normal limits, then the possibility of developing autoimmune diseases can be prevented or reduced.

 

Vitamin D and immune system cells

According to researchers, Vitamin D functions on key cells of the immune system. A research team from the University of Edinburgh focused on finding out how Vitamin D determines the ability of dendrites to activate T cells. It is a class of cells that is vital in healthy individuals, as it contributes to the effective treatment of infections. However, in patients with autoimmune diseases, it is possible that they may begin to attack the cells, tissues and organs of the body itself.

Mouse and human cells were studied for the study. According to the results, it was concluded that Vitamin D caused the dendritic cells to produce more CD31 molecules on their surface, which functioned as a deterrent to T-cell activation. In particular, CD31 has helped to protect cells from establishing a stable contact, a condition which is characterized as a key element of the activation process. Therefore, the response of the immune system was very limited.

All of these findings may inform us about the mechanism by which Vitamin D metabolites affect the immune system and help us understand how low levels of Vitamin D can lead to an increase in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. Decreased Vitamin D levels have long been considered a significant risk factor for developing autoimmune diseases, according to Richard Mellanby, a professor at the University of Edinburgh.

 

Ways to supply the body with the ideal amounts of Vitamin D

 

The great importance of Vitamin D in the etiology, as well as in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, is undeniable. People need to check the levels of Vitamin D in the body at regular intervals and in case they are deficient it is necessary to be supplied with the necessary amounts.

Ideal levels of Vitamin D range between 60 to 100 ngr / dl. It should be emphasized that the fraction of D3, (OH) 25D3 is the fraction of D that should be measured, in order to obtain a complete picture of the levels of Vitamin D in our body.

It is imperative and necessary condition the systematic measurement of Vitamin D in our body and the maintenance of its ideal levels. This is the simplest and most effective way to prevent the development of an autoimmune disease, as the adequacy of Vitamin D can protect our immune system.

The good thing is that, now, Specialized Diagnostic Tests exist, which can detect deficiencies and biochemical aberrations at a cellular and hormonal level. These specialized tests analyze metabolic and hormonal pathways. In this way, they can identify deficiencies in valuable nutrients, hormones and vitamins, including Vitamin D.

Based on the diagnostic findings, the appropriate Medical Therapeutic protocols can be formulated, in case any deficiencies are found. The treatment can be based either on the hormonal recovery of the body with Bioidentical Hormones, or on the supplementation of Vitamin D or on the administration of a “Unique blend”, a mixture of micronutrients. The treatment protocol that will be formulated is administered individually and is judged based on the needs of each individual, the various types of deficiencies that his body presents and is generally determined by the overall state of his health.

 

Dr. Nikoleta Koini, M.D.

Doctor of Functional, Preventive, Anti-ageing and Restorative Medicine.
Diplomate and Board Certified in Anti-aging, Preventive, Functional and Regenerative Medicine from A4M (American Academy in Antiaging Medicine).

 

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References:


  • Holick MF, Chen TC. Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87:1080S–1086S.
  • Agmon-Levin N, Kivity S, Tzioufas AG, et al. Low levels of vitamin-D are associated with neuropathy and lymphoma among patients with Sjogren’s syndrome. J Autoimmun. 2012;39:234–239.
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  • Twig G, Shina A, Amital H, Shoenfeld Y. Pathogenesis of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss in thyroid autoimmunity. J Autoimmun. 2012;38:J275–J281.
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  • Pittas AG, Dawson-Hughes B. Vitamin D and diabetes. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010;121:425–429.
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