7 Ways Vitamin D Can Help Manage Your Osteoarthritis – Flexiseq

7 Ways Vitamin D Can Help Manage Your Osteoarthritis

Joint pain is a common symptom of osteoarthritis; one which significantly impacts the quality of life of millions of people worldwide. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to mitigate the effects of joint pain - one of which is making sure you are getting enough vitamin D in your diet.

But why is it important? Where can you get it? What does it have to do with joint pain, and how much should you be taking? Everything you need to know is outlined below, but first let’s take a moment to look at what constitutes joint pain.

What is joint pain?

The term ‘joint pain’ refers to any discomfort, soreness or inflammation affecting any part of any of your body’s joints. That means the pain could originate from your cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscles or from the bone itself. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, and occurs as a result of cartilage breaking down. Without cartilage to cushion your joints and reduce friction between your bones, you are likely to experience pain, stiffness and perhaps even reduced mobility.

What is vitamin D and where does it come from?

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that plays a significant role in bone health and immune function. Although vitamin D (specifically the precursor, D3) can be synthesised by the action of sunlight (specifically UVB) on the 7-dehydrocholesterol contained within your skin, foods such as fatty fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, tuna), fortified dairy and plant-based milk, egg yolks and mushrooms are all viable additional sources of vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplements can be a convenient way to meet your daily requirements if you are not generating enough through UVB exposure, but you should be sure to stick to intake guidelines as excessive consumption of vitamin D can have adverse side effects.

How much vitamin D do I need?

Your recommended daily intake of vitamin D will depend on factors such as your age, sex, where you live and how much sunlight you’re generally exposed to. Broadly speaking, however, adults are advised to aim for 600-800 IU (international units) of vitamin D per day. That said, people with specific health needs or those living in regions with limited sun exposure may require higher doses, as directed by a healthcare professional.

How does vitamin D support joint health?

There are a number of ways in which vitamin D can help keep your bones and joints in tip-top condition:

Helps absorb calcium
Vitamin D makes it easier for your body to absorb calcium, which is crucial to maintaining bone density and strength. As a result, having the optimal levels of vitamin D helps support joint integrity and reduces your risk of osteoarthritis.

Supports muscle function
The correct vitamin D levels are vital for muscle strength and function - both of which are very important in supporting your joints, thereby reducing strain and discomfort when moving them.

Promotes healthy cartilage
Several studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to decreased cartilage thickness. Vitamin D is therefore believed to be important in preventing the degradation of cartilage, which in turn prevents the development of osteoarthritis.

Keeps joints moving well
Those with a good level of vitamin D intake have been shown to enjoy improved joint function and flexibility. This makes it easier to keep moving, which is one of the most crucial aspects of managing osteoarthritis pain and maintaining a good quality of life.

How does vitamin D mitigate joint pain?

As well as actively promoting joint and bone health, there are several means by which vitamin D actually alleviates joint pain:

Reduces sensitivity to pain
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased pain sensitivity and chronic pain conditions. By ensuring you’re getting enough vitamin D, you may find that you experience a reduction in joint pain and discomfort.

Helps inflammatory responses
Vitamin D has potent anti-inflammatory properties which can help alleviate inflammation in your joints. Inflammation is one of the primary causes of pain and stiffness in osteoarthritic joints, so vitamin D can actually help moderate this.

Supports weight management
Carrying extra weight is a significant risk factor for osteoarthritis, as any excess weight places undue stress on the joints which exacerbates the onset and pain of osteoarthritis. Vitamin D - in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise - is believed to aid weight management, which in turn is liable to reduce joint pain.

Do you take vitamin D to help with your joint pain? Tell us what you think on Facebook.

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