Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common autoimmune connective tissue diseases. However it is far less common than osteoarthritis, which commonly occurs with age. (Although several factors are involved in the genesis of osteoarthritis, it is the “wear and tear” arthritis.)

A blood test, the rheumatoid factor, correlates with the severity of the rheumatoid arthritis, and is a measure of the antibody activity.

Precipitating factors are multiple and have been known for decades. Some cases are simply allergies to certain foods – milk and other dairy products have been proven to be the major factor in some cases that have gone away with abstinence from dairy foods. However the precipitating factors have not been embraced by the medical industry, and few sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis have even tried a dairy free diet nor are they told about it.

Because of research that has been done in the past decade, it has been shown that correction of a vitamin D insufficiency lowers the production of abnormal antibodies in autoimmune diseases.

Mrs. X is a 55 year old female who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in February, 2005. Her rheumatoid factor was 23. In July, 2009, she obtained a vitamin D level for the first time, and it was low at 21 ng. She was treated with 5000 units of vitamin D daily. In April, 2011, she reported that there had been a significant improvement in her joint pain and stiffness, and her repeat vitamin D level was 31 (still low, but much better than 21), and her rheumatoid factor was down to 18, a 22% decrease. No other changes in her medications had been made during that 4 year time span.

Poorly publicized medical studies have shown improvements in rheumatoid arthritis with treatment of vitamin D insufficiency. In this case, the individual had not yet reached anything close to an ideal level of vitamin D, it can be speculated that she may continue to improve with a higher level. The drop in the rheumatoid factor with vitamin D alone indicates a 22% decrease in antibody activity.



What are you waiting for?

It has been known for many years that vitamin D prevents hyper-proliferation of cells in the human body. Research has shown that actual breast cancer responds in a test tube to activated vitamin D. But can vitamin D PREVENT breast cancer? A study just published in the September 2011 issue of Anticancer Research answers that question clearly.

There are 11 case-control studies on the risk of breast cancer by 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels that have been published. The authors of this meta-analysis combined the data to relate the risk of breast cancer to 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.

The study confirmed the connection. This meta-analysis provides proof. A serum level of 47 ng. resulted in a 50% lower risk of breast cancer.

The studies did not determine the maximal beneficial effort of vitamin D on preventing breast cancer. It would be expected that the prevention of breast cancer would keep increasing with a higher level of vitamin D above 47 ng. Vitamin D levels in nature are higher than 47.

The study also did not look at the treatment of established breast cancer with vitamin D.

Do many women have a blood level of 47 ng of vitamin D? I have obtained about 4000 blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in men and women over the past 7 years, mostly people from Southern New Jersey but also some from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Texas were included. Only a very occasional person has that high a level. One woman who gardened all summer had a level of 70 ng. One woman who walked 6 miles a day all year round was quite memorable; she had a level of 110 ng. A fisherman had a level of 60 ng. I’ve seen less than 20 people who had a level of 47 ng or higher without taking a major dose of vitamin D. About 2/3rds of men and women have very low vitamin D levels below 32 ng.

In order to obtain a level of 47 ng, most people need to take at least 5000 units of vitamin D daily. Only occasionally do some people require less. The well publicized dose of 2000 units a day is intended for people who are healthy, and who have never obtained a blood level. In most cases, it will not raise a level below 32 ng to 47 ng. I’ve seen many people who already take 2000 units a day who have levels below 32 ng.

There are several breast cancer fund raising organizations that raise many millions of dollars to cure breast cancer. Much of the money is used for research grants to cancer researchers. I have seen their spokespeople on television, and they have made it clear they are not interesting in devoting their efforts to PREVENTION. They have no plans to publicize studies such as these.

If there was one well publicized “RACE FOR PREVENTION” publicizing the facts in this study, instead of the usual “RACE FOR THE CURE”, more women would be saved from breast cancer over 5 years than have been helped by chemotherapy since 1974, the year that the “War on Cancer” started.

Although this particular study was done on breast cancer, there are extensive somewhat similar studies done on men with prostate cancer. There are also many studies done with various type of cancers including cancer of the uterus and pancreas.

In a perfect world, this medical study should be publicized in newspapers and television news. As so often happens, unfortunately it will most like not be publicized.




Question: What does Venus Williams and Sjogren's have to do with Vitamin D?

Answer: Everything

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune illness involving dry mouth, dry eyes, joint pain and inflammation, and fatigue. It is considered incurable. It is in the class of rheumatological diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus. It is a rare disease.

A study was published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases in which vitamin D levels were measured in 35 patients with Sjogren’s syndrome and normal controls. This study was done because of other previous studies that suggested that Vitamin D may have a regulatory role in the immune system.

The results were clear cut. Severely diminished blood concentrations of vitamin D was found in patients with Sjogren’s syndrome compared to those without Sjogren’s.

In some cases of Sjogren’s, a harmful antibody called IgM rheumatoid factor is found. In this study,patients who did have an elevated level of IgM rheumatoid factor, there was a significant correlation with vitamin D – the higher the harmful levels of IgM rheumatoid factor, the lower the vitamin D level.

Venus Williams has been diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome. It forced her to withdraw from the U.S. tennis open. The media is reporting that she had symptoms for over a year.

The initial studies on vitamin D were the first and second steps. The next step is taking a number of patients with Sjogren’s syndrome, treating half of the subjects with major doses of vitamin D, and half with placebo. When is this study going to be done, now that the preliminary studies have been done.

There are problems. The initial study mentioned above on vitamin D was published in 1983; the one published in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases was published in 1990. I have reviewed MEDLINE and have found NO studies treating Sjogren’s with vitamin D; not even a case report.

It looks like there is never going to be a proper study to evaluate vitamin D in Sjogren’s. Every person with Sjogren’s should obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and treat with vitamin D supplements to an ideal level. We know that the vitamin D will have a positive effect on bone density, along with many other beneficial effects. It hasn’t been studied in people with Sjogren’s sufferers. Because it’s over the counter, what’s stopping anyone with Sjogren’s from taking it to evaluate the effect on their Sjogren’s. Vitamin D has been shown to lead to improvements in other autoimmune diseases - rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis. What would happen if it ended up being a very effective inexpensive treatment for Sjogren's?

Do you hear me, Venus?