Vitamin D supplements may help curb flare-ups in lupus patients, new research shows.
The study, published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy, suggests the “sunshine vitamin” may have a beneficial effect on the immune systems of people with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a debilitating autoimmune disease that causes skin, joint, neurological and renal symptoms, as well as inflammation of tissue linings in the body.
Researchers, led by Nathalie Costedoat-Chalumeau, tracked the safety and beneficial effects of giving vitamin D supplements to 20 SLE patients with low vitamin levels. Over a six-month period, they found the patients were able to tolerate the supplements without any problems and that there were no SLE flare-ups during the follow-up period.
Researchers said the findings suggest vitamin D may help keep the body from attacking its own tissues — a hallmark of SLE.
Costedoat-Chalumeau said suggested the preliminary findings are promising, and that vitamin D may play a pivotal role in the function of the immune system.
"The study has highlighted interesting pathways to explore,” she said, but added: "This should be confirmed in larger randomized controlled trials."