Rheumatoid arthritis is a very painful condition for many sufferers but there could be a way to prevent it from occurring.
Researchers from the University of Birmingham have discovered that maintaining a sufficient level of vitamin D could be the answer.
The study saw the researchers compare the ability of immune cells in blood from inflamed joints in people with rheumatoid arthritis to respond to the vitamin, which comes from the sun.
It was found the tissue that had not succumbed to the disease responded well to vitamin D. This suggested that it could be effective at preventing the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.
In the UK alone, the disease affects more than 400,000.
Once the disorder had developed, it was found that vitamin D was less effective. However, it is thought that it could still help in higher doses with other anti-inflammatories.
Professor Martin Hewison, who co-authored the study, believes the results will have significant implications for people in the UK.
Although he did point out that it was a particular problem in the UK as the weather means that almost everyone is going to be deficient in vitamin D. He told the Guardian that now they just need to work out how much is needed to overcome the disease.
The study first began in 2011 and builds on work showing that people with rheumatoid arthritis have deficiency in vitamin D. Calls have also been made by experts for vitamin D to be added to food.