Jessica Frizzell, PA-C
Should You Take Daily Vitamin Supplements?
Your body needs vitamins to operate properly. These valuable nutrients serve a variety of purposes that contribute to your overall health and wellbeing. If you have a vitamin deficiency, it is important to address the issue and work toward increasing your levels. This is particularly true for an individual living with an autoimmune disease.
Types of Vitamins
A vitamin deficiency can occur when you have an inadequate amount of one or more of the following vitamins:
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Vitamin B7 (biotin)
Vitamin B9 (folate)
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
Each vitamin plays a different role and carries out a specific responsibility, so low levels in any one of these essential nutrients can bring on adverse health symptoms.
The Impact of Autoimmune Diseases on Vitamin Levels
When you have an autoimmune disease, it is not uncommon for your vitamin levels to be affected.
The National Library of Medicine outlines: “Vitamin D deficiency is more common in RA patients and may be one of the causes leading to development or worsening of the disease.”
The Cleveland Clinic states: “Diseases that affect the digestive system, like Crohn’s disease and celiac disease, can prevent your body from fully absorbing vitamin B12.”
The Cleveland Clinic further reports: “Pernicious anemia, one of the causes of vitamin B12 deficiency, is an autoimmune condition that prevents your body from absorbing vitamin B12.”
The Consequences of a Vitamin Deficiency
If you have a vitamin deficiency, your symptoms can vary from mild to severe and may include:
Irregular heart rate
Slow wound healing
Night vision impairment
Poor immune system functioning
Numbness in hands and feet
Changes in memory
Furthermore, a vitamin deficiency can lead to numerous health complications.
Yale Medicine points out: “When vitamin D levels are low and the body isn’t able to properly absorb calcium and phosphorus, there is an increased risk of bone pain, bone fractures, muscle pain and muscle weakness.”
The National Institutes of Health states: “Severe vitamin K deficiency can cause bruising and bleeding problems because the blood will take longer to clot. Vitamin K deficiency might reduce bone strength and increase the risk of getting osteoporosis because the body needs vitamin K for healthy bones.”
The Mayo Clinic reports: “Untreated, vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to neurological problems, such as persistent tingling in the hands and feet or problems with balance. It can lead to mental confusion and forgetfulness because vitamin B-12 is necessary for healthy brain function.
When Taking Vitamin Supplements
If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency, taking supplements can be an excellent way to raise your levels. But before you start loading up on all sorts of vitamins, it is always best to do so under the guidance of a doctor.
Did you know you can take too many supplements and overload your body with too many vitamins?
For example, the Mayo Clinic says: “The main consequence of vitamin D toxicity is a buildup of calcium in your blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Vitamin D toxicity might progress to bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.”
The National Institutes of Health reads: “Getting too much preformed vitamin A (usually from supplements or certain medicines) can cause severe headache, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, muscle aches, and problems with coordination. In severe cases, getting too much preformed vitamin A can even lead to coma and death.”
Plus, did you know that vitamin supplements can interfere and interact with certain medications and prescriptions used to treat autoimmune diseases? This is another reason why it is critically vital to work with a doctor if you plan to begin a vitamin regime.
Treating a Vitamin Deficiency
Vitamin supplements are a useful resource for many individuals living with an autoimmune disease and experiencing a vitamin deficiency.
Here at Paducah Rheumatology, we encourage our patients to take vitamin supplements, if needed. Beginning a vitamin regime can be a wonderful way to decrease negative symptoms and improve your quality of life.
We have a caring and compassionate team committed to taking the time to listen to your symptoms and concerns, order necessary blood work or imaging, and then develop a personalized treatment plan based on your individual needs and specific diagnosis.
Let’s discuss whether vitamin supplements could help you. Give us a call at 270-408-6100. A physician’s referral is required for new patients.