Health experts suspect that deficiency of certain vitamins may aggravate the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.
A healthy diet supplies the body nutrition essential for reducing inflammation and pain of the joints of the spine and arrest progression of ankylosing spondylitis.
Vitamins for Treating Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis patients tend to have low levels of vitamin B6. However, supplementation with vitamin B6 or increasing consumption of vitamin B6 rich foods is not sufficient for treating deficiency of this important B vitamin in people who lack enzymes that convert vitamin B6 into its active form.
Therefore, supplementation with co-factor pyridoxal-5-phosphate, the active form of the vitamin B6, is needed to alleviate the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. Pyridoxal-5-phosphate helps to fight unwanted inflammation.
Although not directly associated with ankylosing spondylitis treatment, nonetheless, sufficient intake of vitamin C rich food is essential for maintaining the health of the connective tissues of the spine. Several studies have shown that vitamin C is beneficial for people suffering from chronic inflammatory disorders of the joints.
This antioxidant vitamin tends to fight inflammation by suppressing the activities of free radicals that tend to damage body cells and aggravate inflammation and pain. However, the effect of vitamin C supplements on ankylosing spondylitis is unknown. Therefore, it is advisable to meet your daily vitamin C requirement through fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, peppers and strawberries. Researchers believe that vitamin C along with flavonoids present in fruits and vegetables work together to fight inflammation of the joints.
Low bone mineral density or osteoporosis, a common problem in people suffering from ankylosing spondylitis, may be treated with vitamin D. Osteoporosis may occur in ankylosing spondylitis patients even at the early stage of the disease. Change in vitamin D metabolism is believed to lower serum vitamin D level. Supplementation with vitamin D may help to maintain bone density in people suffering from osteoporosis.
Vitamin D aids calcium absorption. It also helps transportation of calcium to the bones, thereby facilitating growth and development of the bone cells. Vitamin D is also an anti-inflammatory agent. By suppressing synthesis of pro-inflammatory compounds, it reduces inflammation. Inflammation not only worsens the pain of ankylosing spondylitis, it also aggravates osteoporosis.
Maintaining the normal vitamin D intake, as recommended by health experts for preventing osteoporosis, is sufficient for improving mineral density and decreasing inflammation that worsens ankylosing spondylitis pain. According to the Institute of Medicine, 600 International Units of vitamin D is usually sufficient for meeting the daily vitamin D requirement of the body. For treating deficiencies or osteoporosis, your physician may recommend higher doses of the vitamin. Despite supplementation with vitamin D, exposing the skin to the sunlight is the most effective and safest way of boosting the vitamin D level in the bloodstream.
Vitamin E is believed to be effective in alleviating the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis. By boosting the antioxidant level in the body, vitamin E helps to protect the spine from oxidative stress, which tends to worsen the symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis.