A doctor answers this question as well as if low vitamin D levels can make psoriatic arthritis worse.

If you suffer from psoriatic arthritis, you may be curious over whether or not vitamin D in high levels can help relieve symptoms, and conversely, if a vitamin D deficiency can make psoriatic arthritis worse.

“Vitamin D deficiency is quite prevalent in patients with both psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, and in some studies low vitamin D has been shown to be associated with increased inflammatory markers in the blood and increased clinical disease activity,” explains Stuart M. Levine, MD, Vice-Chairman, Department of Medicine, Rheumatology, Medical Faculty Practice, Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital, Baltimore.

However, he adds that the significance of this association has not been determined.

It also has not been proven that low levels of vitamin D, alone as an issue, can cause psoriatic arthritis or psoriasis (skin only).

Dr. Levine points out that he is not aware of any treatment trials that involve vitamin D, which is found in fortified foods, namely milk, cereal and meal replacement bars and beverages. It also comes in supplement form.

Dr. Levine explains that “it is reasonable and is my standard practice to look for vitamin D deficiency in all inflammatory arthritis patients, and to treat patients with documented deficiency with appropriate doses of vitamin D until they are back in the normal range.”

Now, getting back in the normal range is not the same as taking the so-called therapeutic doses of this macronutrient.

In fact, Dr. Levine says, “Raising vitamin D levels to higher than normal levels has not been studied and is not recommended.”

Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

Here are the symptoms of this uncommon autoimmune disease that is sometimes misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis:

  • swollen fingers and toes (may appear sausage-like
  • hand and foot swelling, possibly deformity
  • foot pain, especially at the back of the heel or the sole of the foot
  • lower back pain.

Psoriatic arthritis can cause a back condition called spondylitis, which causes inflammation of the joints that are between the spinal vertebrae, as well as inflammation in the joints between the spine and pelvis.

Dr. Levine’swork has been published in peer-reviewed journals including PLoS One, Arthritis & Rheumatism, Journal of Rheumatology, Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, and the American Journal of Medicine.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 


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