Leading the way to a cure


Vitamin D in Lupus

Hardin, John, MD

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system, ensuring that immune cells work to resists pathogens but do not attack the body’s own tissues. Vitamin D is  particularly important in regulating dendritic cells, which  are activated in response to viral and other infections.  Overactive dendritic cells are thought to play an important role in lupus, while laboratory studies suggest that vitamin D helps calm such overactivity. 

Dr. Hardin and his group have found that nearly all patients with lupus living in New York and the Southeast have a  vitamin D deficiency, particularly African Americans. The  researchers’ studies also suggest that current approaches  to vitamin D supplementation do not adequately treat this deficiency. 

Dr. Hardin is using the ALR grant for a clinical study designed to assess the benefit of adequate vitamin D replacement in lupus patients. He and his team are working to establish a safe and effective regimen for replacing vitamin D in patients with lupus; identifying the mechanisms through which vitamin D regulates the immune system; and determining the minimal level of vitamin D the body requires to maintain a properly balanced immune system. 

What this study means for people with lupus: By identifying the benefits of adequate vitamin D  replacement in lupus patients, Dr. Hardin and his team  may provide a simple approach to reducing the ravages  of the disease.

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