Vitamin D and Chronic Pain

Vitamin D and Chronic Pain

Some recent studies are showing that how much Vitamin D you have in your system may be connected to certain types of chronic pain, notably osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture supported a study that indicates if you’re not getting adequate Vitamin D in your diet, you may be at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis, which affects nearly 28 million Americans. It is a degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone, most common from middle age onward. It causes pain and stiffness, especially in the hip, knee, and thumb joints.

The scientists looked at a subset of data collected during a longitudinal study called the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), which is a large study of individuals with, or at risk of, knee osteoarthritis. The researchers focused on 418 volunteers for whom blood serum concentrations of vitamin D were available and for who radiographs to assess knee osteoarthritis progression were available. The volunteers were followed for 4 years and monitored for knee osteoarthritis progression and vitamin D levels in their blood.

Compared to volunteers with healthy levels, participants with low vitamin D levels had more than doubled the risk of their knee osteoarthritis worsening during the study. The scientists concluded that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for increased knee osteoarthritis progression and that increased, adequate dietary intake may be beneficial for those with knee osteoarthritis.

The same may be true for sufferers of fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tenderness in localized areas.

A group of Korean researchers shared their results that found low levels of Vitamin D may be common in fibromyalgia patients. They injected cholecalciferol (vitamin d3) in the muscles every four weeks for three times and found pain and fatigue decreased.

The paper was presented at the European League against Rheumatism Annual European Congress in Rome.

Low levels of vitamin D have been reported in patients with inflammatory rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), osteoarthritis (OA) and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Vitamin D is acquired either from dietary sources of from exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, which converts the precursors in the skin into cholecalciferol.

If you are looking for ways to increase your Vitamin D intake, the best source is sunlight. That makes some dermatologists nervous given the risk for skin cancer, but it’s by far the best source of Vitamin D.

In addition, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fortified milk and egg yolks are other sources of Vitamin D.

And of course, you may also buy Vitamin D supplements to augment your intake.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Kathy Hastings at 3:53 pm

    Both B12 and D are important to be checked for any type of deficiency. Yes, B12 deficiency can lead to more nerve pain! I am currently taking injections for 6 mos and then having recheck of B12; and I take 3000 units of Vit D, plus get out in the sunshine w/o sunscreen for 20 minutes (either early morning or late afternoon, to prevent burning. I also have Celiac Disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, along with other health issues related to my back, tailbone and feet and legs….don’t forget your Magnesium, too! Very important to help with muscle spasms and constipation!

  2. Marilyn Sedlock at 6:56 pm

    I have been taking 5000 mg of Vitamin D a day for osteoporosis. Is this too much? I also suffer from lower back pain and hip pain.

  3. jalil at 4:52 pm

    what about vitamin b12 dificiency..

  4. Kristi M at 9:28 pm

    Just and FYI, most chronically sick patients will have a Vit D deficiency especially those with autoimmune diseases! It’s always best to get your levels checked before you end up taking too much! This is from someone who suffers from a genetic and autoimmune disease. And this will help a bit of the pain, but it’s not the ROOT of the pain or the cause of an autoimmune disease or fibromyalgia!

  5. Reta Coon-Jiminez at 11:23 am

    This is s good to know. I take Vitamin D and will continue after reading this article. Thanks so much.
    Reta