The RA, Vitamin, Mineral, and Food Connection - Part 1
I have through the years noticed consistent issues with my vitamin and mineral levels since my RA diagnosis. I noticed that the length of my RA treatment = an increase in the amounts of vitamins and minerals I was deficient in. This article is part of a series. I recommend to really understand the content, to read the article in Part order (Part1, Part2, etc.).
Understanding vitamin and mineral intake
The article aims to help understand why vitamins and minerals are important. Also, to help you understand what foods contain which vitamins and minerals. The focus will be on those vitamins and minerals most commonly associated vitamin deficiencies in RA patients. Also, recognizing the link between RA and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
I personally prefer, and the medical community recommends, to always consume your vitamins and nutrients through your food intake. However, I, upon recommendation, have used prescribed supplements under medical direction. I also, in those times, really tried to increase eating foods that were high in vitamins/minerals, that I was deficient in.
Confirmed vitamin and mineral deficiencies
My doctors have confirmed through frequent lab work various vitamin and mineral deficiencies I have experienced. I asked myself, “So what, one blood test doesn’t confirm a pattern?” From that point on, I have saved and tracked my blood reports. Yes, I will say what everyone is thinking: I’m that girl that keeps all her lab reports to look for trends that are happening with my blood results. All I can say is that each of us is our own best advocate. No one will take care of you like you. Do NOT ever stop fighting for yourself.
I wanted to understand why this was happening. Honestly, I was asking questions to medical professionals and not getting any straight forward answers. So, I did what any awesome advocate does and I researched it. John Hopkins Medical Center’s website states:1
The most commonly observed vitamin and mineral deficiencies in patients with RA are folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
So, I thought to myself, “What does this all really mean?”
The importance of vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients. Essential nutrients, think of them as dancers. Each dancer has a specific part to dance in the overall performance of our body.
Just like dancers in a performance, vitamins and minerals play very key roles in our human body. Some of them help build our bones. Certain ones help boost our immune system while others help repair damage at the cellular level. Some even help convert food into energy. However, they work to create a beautiful synchronized ballet in our bodies.
I knew at that point, I needed to start at the very beginning. I needed to understand vitamin and minerals exact role in our body. I was hopeful that there were direct things I could do to help my body out so that I could help balance my vitamin and mineral level in my own body.
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?