New research from Australia has linked low vitamin D levels with a higher risk of developing systemic lupus erythematosus, and more severe disease activity.

In the study, patients with lupus attended the Monash Medical Centre Lupus Clinic in Australia between 2007 and 2013. The researchers examined lupus disease activity by monitoring SLEDAI-2K levels and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (vitamin D) status of each person. SLEDAI-2K is a series of blood tests that provide an overall measure of lupus activity, and individual organ/system assessment scales that assess disease activity in single organs.

The study showed that more than 27 percent of the lupus patients were vitamin D deficient at the beginning of the trial. It also showed a strong correlation between higher blood vitamin D levels and reduced severity of lupus.

Low vitamin D is a complicating factor in all autoimmune disease. Vitamin D has a strong natural anti-inflammatory effect. It helps to dampen down an over active, aggressive immune system, it reduces pain and reduces fatigue. It is so important to have regular blood tests to check your vitamin D level if you have an autoimmune disease, particularly during winter or if you live in a part of the world that doesn’t receive much sunshine. You want your vitamin D level to be at the higher end of normal if you suffer with any condition that features inflammation or pain. Try to aim for between 40 and 60ng/mL (100 to 150 nmol/L). If your blood level is not high enough, taking a vitamin D supplement or sensible sun exposure should help you get there.

For more information about autoimmune disease see the book Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to reduce inflammation and help your immune system.


“Association of low vitamin D with high disease activity in an Australian systemic lupus erythematosus cohort.” Lupus Sci Med 2015;2:e000064 DOI: 10.1136/lupus-2014-000064