Last Reviewed: 23 March, 2016
Several new studies demonstrate the power of vitamin D to reduce inflammation and pain, operating at the DNA level to regulate genes to reduce inflammation. This information expands our understanding of vitamin D in relation to the immune response and sends a clear message that people with any kind of pain or ongoing inflammation should optimize their vitamin D levels as a key aspect of solving inflammatory problems.
We have known for some time that vitamin D is needed for optimal immune performance, whether combating pain or fighting the flu. It is well established that vitamin D is the single most important substance in your body for something called immune system tolerance, which means “how hot can your frying pan get before there are major overheating problems?” Such a concept is highly relevant to fighting infection (too hot means death or severe infection) as well as pain (especially autoimmune pain).
One new study evaluated the vitamin D status and pain levels in 2,070 adults over age 65. Of these adults, 53 percent had moderate to severe pain, and all were linked to poor vitamin D status, a relationship that held true when other variables were taken into account.
Another new study documents, for the first time, precise mechanisms by which vitamin D lowers inflammation. The researchers show a new receptor for vitamin D on DNA. When vitamin D lands on this receptor then core gene signaling takes place that reduces inflammation. This is a powerful anti-inflammatory mechanism of the most fundamental nature. If a person is lacking vitamin D then this receptor cannot possibly be activated in an optimal way, placing that person at higher risk for magnified inflammation from any health issue.
This places vitamin D on par with DHA as potent regulators of inflammation at the most fundamental levels.
Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist