Various studies have linked Fibromyalgia to Vitamin D Deficiency while Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for good health
Fibromyalgia is a condition affects the muscles and soft tissue. It is characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure.
Other fibromyalgia Symptoms include chronic muscle pain, fatigue, sleep problems, and painful tender points or trigger point.
A number of studies have found that vitamin D plays an important role in various chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia. It has also been found that people suffering from fibromyalgia have vitamin D deficiency.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement.
It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D is also essential for bone health and also the maturation of infection-fighting white blood cells.
Sunlight exposure is the easiest and reliable way for people to get vitamin D. It is recommended that a person exposes his hands, face, arms, and legs to sunlight two to three times a week. This will develop a mild sunburn and cause the skin with enough vitamin D.
How does Vitamin D work?
Vitamin D is essential for the regulation of the minerals calcium and phosphorus that is found in the body. Vitamin D is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation.
Firstly, it occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also known as calcidiol.
The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D, also known as calcitriol.
Link between Vitamin D and Fibromyalgia
In a review of vitamin D, researchers have found that 70 percent of patients with chronic pain were deficient in vitamin D.
According to a study to be published in the journal Pain Medicine, it was found that people suffering from fibromyalgia lacked Vitamin D.
The study revealed that treatment with high dose of vitamin D resulted in significant improvement of most of the fibromyalgia symptoms.
In another Saudi Arabian study, 30 female fibromyalgia patients with an average age of 34.5 were studied according to the new clinical fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria.
The study categorized Vitamin D deficiency as below 20 ng/mL, Vitamin D insufficiency as between 21-29 ng/mL, and Vitamin D sufficiency as equal to or more than 30 ng/mL.
The results showed that all the fibromyalgia patients were significantly deficient in Vitamin D, the average level is 4.76 ng/mL.
The study also noticed that there was a correlation between vitamin D levels and widespread pain, the lower level of vitamin D, the greater the pain.
The patients were treated with either a single high dose of vitamin D3 – 600,000 IU injected intramuscularly – or with 50,000 IU vitamin D3 tablets taken once weekly for eight weeks.
After one month of treatment with single dose of injection and two months with tablets, it was found that treatment with vitamin D3 improved all fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria scores except for cognitive functioning problems.
It was concluded that the participants lacked vitamin D and a high dose of vitamin D supplements led to the resolution of most of the fibromyalgia symptoms.
Therefore, since fibromyalgia patients are found to have low vitamin D levels, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic pain.
Similarly, in a three-year cohort study published in Saudi Medical Journal, doctors have found out that out of 100 participating women suffering from fibromyalgia, more than half (61 percent) of these women were deficient in vitamin D.
The doctors treated them with 50,000 IU of ergocalciferol weekly until blood levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D surpassed 50 ng/mL.
When the vitamin D levels reached 30 ng/mL, 42 of the women reported significant improvement. And when the blood levels exceeded 50 ng/mL, more improvements were noticed.
The study, therefore, concluded that vitamin D deficiency had to be considered while treating fibromyalgia patients.
Some Foods with high levels of Vitamin D
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- dairy products
- orange juice
- soy milk
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
It is recommended that people suffering from fibromyalgia should check their vitamin D levels tested and consult your doctor before taking any new vitamin D supplements.
To test your vitamin D levels, doctors measure blood levels of Calcifediol, also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Calcifediol, produced in the liver, is a precursor to vitamin D – which is converted to active vitamin D in the body.
Side Effects of Vitamin D
Although side effects of Vitamin D are commonly not experienced, there are some side effects of Vitamin D that a person would experience if too much is taken.
If a person takes vitamin D for a prolonged period and in doses higher than 4000 units daily, it is considered unsafe. This may lead to excessively high levels of calcium in the blood.
- loss of appetite
- dry mouth
- metallic taste
However, much higher doses are often needed for the short-term treatment of vitamin D deficiency. This type of treatment should be carried out under the supervision of a doctor or a healthcare provider.
Who should not take Vitamin D?
A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding should not take Vitamin D in high doses which may cause harm to the infant.
A person who has a kidney disease will be at risk of hardening of the arteries since vitamin D increases the calcium levels.
A person who has high levels of calcium in the blood should not take vitamin D as this could make the condition worse.
A person with Sarcoidosis, Lymphoma, Tuberculosis, and Histoplasmosis should not take vitamin D as it would increase the calcium level and lead to kidney stones and other problems.