Vitamin D and kidney health: Autoimmune diseases often lead to renal failure; increased levels of vitamin D found to improve proteinuria

It’s believed that inadequate vitamin D levels can increase one’s susceptibility to disease, and vice versa. The effects of vitamin D on disease are such that many experts have recommended supplementing this vitamin to people suffering from autoimmune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Curcumin has been endorsed for this purpose as well, owing to its alleged “synergistic nature” with vitamin D. Thus, a team of researchers decided to evaluate the potential impact of vitamin D and curcumin supplementation on lulphus nephritis (LN), an inflammation of the kidney and one of the manifestations of SLE.

For the study, 40 patients with SLE were recruited. None of the patients were pregnant or supplementing vitamin D and/or curcumin, nor did they have liver dysfunction disorder or severe kidney disease. Prior to experimentation, the study participants had blood samples taken from them so that the researchers could assess their levels of vitamin D, anti-double stranded DNA (anti-dsDNA), and interleukin 17 (IL-17).

The patients were then divided into two groups, with one group serving as the control and the other as the treatment group. Over the course of three months, both groups were given vitamin D supplementation in conjunction with their usual medications. Thrice a day, the treatment group received both vitamin D3 and temulawak (Curcuma xanthorrhiza) extract, while the control group was administered vitamin D3 and a placebo that appeared similar to curcumin. Blood samples were extracted again at the end of the experiment.

All participants had increased vitamin D levels, though the treatment group had a slightly greater spike compared to the control group. Supplementing with vitamin D was found to have positively impacted anti-dsDNA, IL-17, and even proteinuria.

According to, elevated levels of anti-dsDNA are strongly linked to lupus and kidney damage and inflammation. Both groups had significantly less anti-dsDNA after they had been given vitamin D supplements. A decline was also observed in IL-17 and proteinuria or protein in urine, high amounts of which are considered to be markers of kidney damage or disease. (Related: Vitamin D insufficiency promotes chronic disease and increases risk of early death by 50 percent.)

As for the impact of curcumin on vitamin D supplementation, the researchers noted that there were no significant differences between the groups. In fact, the changes in all participants were all rather close to one another. “Despite significant results in elevated levels of vitamin D, decreased anti-dsDNA, protein-creatinine and IL-17 ratios in both groups, both treatment and placebo, no difference in vitamin D levels was found when the two groups were compared,” said the researchers.

For instance, the vitamin D levels of the treatment group went from 14.29 plus-minus 6.5 nanogram/milliliter (ng/mL) to 22.71 plus-minus 5.34 ng/mL; as for the control group, their vitamin D levels rose from 7.47 plus-minus 14.93 ng/mL to 26.85 plus-minus 3.71 ng/mL. However, the researchers acknowledged that the temulawak utilized in the study had a low bioavailability.

Of their results, the investigators wrote: “The addition of curcumin in vitamin D is not better than vitamin D alone. Increased vitamin D levels is correlated with decreased anti-dsDNA and IL-17 antibodies, and provide good results of improvement of proteinuria.

Visit to look up on more studies about other kidney- or immunity-related benefits of vitamin D, or to read up further on how vitamin D can be used against disease.

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