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What are some facts about the connection between sarcoidosis and vitamin D?

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Quick Answer

High levels of vitamin D can worsen sarcoidosis, report Conron, Young and Benyon in the Journal of Rheumatology. The culprit appears to be the metabolically active part of vitamin D, calcitriol.

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Full Answer

Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory condition, affects multiple body systems but especially the lymph glands and lungs, according to WebMD. The primary effect of sarcoidosis is the formation of granulomas, nodules of inflamed tissue, in the organs. In some cases, this abnormality negatively affects the structure and function of the afflicted organs. Sarcoidosis is an autoimmune disorder, but the exact cause is unknown.

Increases in serum calcium levels after exposure to sunlight and consumption of cod liver oil led scientists to suspect a connection between sarcoidosis and excess calcium and vitamin D, says the Journal of Rheumatology. In hypercalcaemic individuals with sarcoidosis, elevated calcitriol levels normalize upon treatment of the hypercalcaemia.

Regulating vitamin D levels in patients with sarcoidosis is important but complicated, points out the Journal of Rheumatology. Vitamin D and calcium can have negative effects on granuloma formation and other sarcoidosis symptoms but are also necessary for general health an well-being, especially in maintaining proper bone density and preventing osteoporosis. Corticosteroids are usually successful in managing hypercalcaemic sarcoidosis. It is also helpful to eat a balanced diet with fresh vegetables and fruit and to consume adequate fluids, says WebMD.

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