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Occuring predominantly in women, this condition affects the fingers (and sometimes toes, nose, and ears), causing them to become cold and turn white, then bluish in color. Upon rewarming, the area becomes red and may throb or tingle, a sequence of events presumably caused by spasm in the local blood vessels.
The condition has two forms:
Cold temperatures and stress tend to bring on attacks in both forms.
Many people with either form of Raynaud’s also have low blood levels of vitamin D. Since vitamin D has a relaxing effect on smooth muscle that lines the blood vessels, and may inhibit substances that cause blood vessel constriction, researchers in Lebanon sought to determine if supplementation might help relieve Raynaud’s symptoms.
Forty-two vitamin D–deficient people took part in the study. They were given 600,000 IU of vitamin D3 or a placebo at the beginning of the study, after four weeks, and after eight weeks. At each stage, people reported the degree to which they tolerated their Raynaud’s symptoms. Vitamin D levels were retested after 12 weeks, with these results:
The authors cautioned that more studies are needed to confirm these results and to determine an optimal vitamin D dose for treating Raynaud’s.
Besides getting more vitamin D, try these tips to help decrease the frequency and severity of Raynaud’s attacks:
(Rheumatol Int 2013; DOI 10.1007/s00296-012-2445-x)