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.