Department of Family Medicine, University of Alberta, Suite No. 301, 9509-156 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2M7.
This paper looks at the environmental role of vitamin D and solar radiation as risk reduction factors in autoimmune disease. Five diseases are considered: multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease of the thyroid, and inflammatory bowel disease. Clinical relevant studies and factors that may indicate evidence that autoimmune disease is a vitamin D-sensitive disease are presented. Studies that have resulted in prevention or amelioration of some autoimmune disease are discussed. An example of the utility of supplementing vitamin D in an unusual autoimmune disease, idiopathic thrombocytic purpura, is presented.