Why you should add this hero vitamin to your arsenal
Your joints feel frozen solid... your skin is red and splotchy... and you're dragging yourself through yet another day.
When you've got lupus (a.k.a. systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE), it can feel like you're in a battle with your own body because... well, you ARE. With autoimmune diseases like lupus, your body's immune system attacks its OWN organs and tissues.
There's not much in the mainstream arsenal to defend against this enemy -- aside from prednisone, a corticosteroid that could make you feel even worse than the lupus.
But according to a new study, there's a natural way to improve your lupus symptoms -- because vitamin D (a.k.a. the "sunshine" vitamin) can ease your pain and fatigue.
In the study out of Egypt, 60 lupus patients and 30 healthy controls were assessed for vitamin D deficiency and disease activity.
After crunching the numbers, the researchers determined that nearly 75 percent of the lupus patients had below-normal levels of vitamin D in their blood, while another 23 percent had levels so low that they were considered vitamin D deficient.
Now, we already know that about two-thirds of lupus patients are UV light sensitive, meaning that stepping out into the sunshine can trigger or worsen their lupus flare-ups.
And since your body produces vitamin D when those rays hit your skin, it makes sense that folks with lupus who avoid the sun might have low levels of vitamin D.
But that's not the whole story -- because the study also found that the lower the participants' levels of vitamin D were, the WORSE their fatigue and other lupus symptoms were.
Since vitamin D combats inflammation in the body and is also important for a healthy immune system, it stands to reason that getting too little of it could exacerbate an immune system already gone haywire.
To make matters worse, taking corticosteroids like prednisone over a long period of time can itself cause vitamin D deficiency.
So, if you're struggling with lupus but don't want the sun to trigger a flare-up, up the amount of vitamin D in your diet.
This hero vitamin can be found in foods like fish (particularly salmon, catfish, and sardines), beef liver, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
Just don't look to vitamin D-fortified milk as your fix -- because dairy surprisingly isn't a very good source of D, and undiagnosed allergies to milk may even be CAUSING your lupus!
To be on the safe side, I also recommend taking a high-quality supplement of vitamin D -- specifically vitamin D3, which is the natural version (as opposed to D2, which is synthetic).
You can find it at your local health food store, pharmacy, or online for just pennies a day.