Vitamin D deficiency `worsens lupus`

Washington: People suffering from lupus -- an autoimmune disease -- are likely to experience more severe symptoms if their vitamin D levels are low, says a new study.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body`s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs.

Now, researchers at Monash University have found systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which affects nearly five million people worldwide, was found to be worse in vitamin D deficient SLE patients than in those with normal levels.

Lead researcher Prof Eric Morand said although practicing sun avoidance is important for lupus patients, as sunlight can make aspects of the disease worse, this can lead to vitamin D deficiency and an increase in the severity of the disease.

"Although it`s too soon to draw conclusions about the long-term safety and effectiveness of vitamin D supplements in lupus, a clinical trial is the next step proving that supplementing vitamin D makes lupus better," he said in a university release.

The research involved five years of clinical data and blood sample collection from the Monash Lupus Clinic at the Monash Medical Centre, the only lupus-dedicated clinic in Australia.


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