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Greater intake of vitamin D, especially in the form of supplements, appears to be inversely associated with the incidence of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in elderly women, say researchers. Vitamin D has immunologic activity independent of its role in calcium regulation. In animal models, vitamin D has been demonstrated to suppress the development of autoimmunity, but its effects on the human immune system are not yet established.
Relatively little information is available regarding dietary or nutritional intake prior to RA onset, and the association of vitamin D with RA onset has not been previously assessed. To address this, Linda A. Merlino, MSc, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, United States, and colleagues performed a study to evaluate the association of dietary and supplemental vitamin D intake with RA incidence.
(Study: Arthritis Rheum 2004 Jan;50:1:72-7. "Vitamin D intake is inversely associated with rheumatoid arthritis: Results from the Iowa Women's Health Study." )>