Los Angeles: The miracle of Vitamin D’s protection to the body continues – scientists have now found that it also helps prevent inflammation in joints.
The discovery was made by scientists at the University of Florida who reviewed the blood vitamin D levels and health of 45 African American and 49 Caucasians between 45 and 71 years of age with osteoarthritis of the knee. The reason for looking at the two different ethnicities was because African Americans tend to have lower vitamin D levels.
Lead researcher, Toni Glover said the study examined the theory of whether long term micronutrient deficiencies trigger chronic inflammation. In turn, chronic inflammation leads to chronic health conditions, many of which are characterized by pain as a disabling symptom.
African American participants reported more pain in comparison with Caucasian subjects. While half of the Caucasian participants had vitamin D levels that were lower than 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL), these insufficient levels occurred in 84 percent of the African Americans. Average Caucasian vitamin D levels were 28.2 ng/mL, in contrast with 19.9 ng/mL among African Americans. “People associate vitamin D with good bone health,” stated Glover, who is a research nurse practitioner and doctoral candidate at the University of Florida. “Yet, not everyone is aware of what factors decrease vitamin D and how low levels could contribute to health issues, including chronic pain.”
“Our data demonstrate that differences in experimental pain sensitivity between the two races are mediated at least in part by variations in vitamin D levels,” she concluded. “However, further studies are needed to fully understand the link between low vitamin D levels and racial disparities in pain. Although rare, vitamin D toxicity is possible and older adults should consult with their primary care provider regarding supplementation. It may be warranted that older black Americans with chronic widespread pain be screened for vitamin D deficiency to reduce disparities in pain.”