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How Vitamin D Can Help Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain

Recent medical studies show a close correlation between fibromyalgia pain and Vitamin D deficiency. High doses of Vitamin D helps relieve fibromyalgia pain.
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In 2011, Saudi Medical Journal published perhaps a groundbreaking study involving women with fibromyalgia and Vitamin D deficiency. During the medical study, which lasted for three years, one hundred women with fibromyalgia were tested for Vitamin D deficiency.

Out of the one hundred women, sixty- one were severely deficient in Vitamin D. These women were started on Vitamin D therapy in the form of 50,000 IU of ergocalciferol once a week until their blood serum levels of Vitamin D increased to above 50 ng/mL.

The revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire and the number of tender points were used to assess the results of Vitamin D therapy.

Of the sixty- one women with fibromyalgia who were diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency, forty- two of them felt significantly better and were experiencing less fibromyalgia pain when their Vitamin D levels rose above 30 ng/mL.

When their blood levels of Vitamin D rose above 50 ng/mL, these women felt even better.

A comparison study was performed in Saudi Arabia from January to April 2011. In this study, thirty women with fibromyalgia were screened for Vitamin D deficiency.

The average Vitamin D levels for these women was 4.76 ng/mL. Vitamin D deficiency is described as being any number below 30 ng/mL. There was a very significant correlation between these women’s pain index and Vitamin D deficiency.

An interesting note about the Saudi Arabia study was testing to see if the Saudi tradition of wearing veils had any bearing on Vitamin D deficiency in this group of women.

One third of the women wore the traditional Saudi covering. Two- thirds of the women were non-Saudi. Half of the non- Saudi women wore the traditional covering, and half of the women wore conservative long sleeves and long pants.

Severe Vitamin D deficiency was noted in all of the women, regardless of dress. Treating the women with high doses of Vitamin D showed clinical improvement in all of the women in the study.

The scientists concluded that high doses of Vitamin D may possibly remedy all fibromyalgia symptoms.

How does Vitamin D help fibromyalgia?

Vitamin D is one of the most crucial vitamins our bodies require, and it is not produced in the human body itself.

Vitamin D plays an extremely significant role in bone health, cell reproduction, immune system function, the regulation of insulin and glucose levels, cardiovascular health, and issues with chronic pain.

Vitamin D deficiency plays a part in practically all chronic illnesses. Vitamin D can definitely help reduce fibromyalgia pain.

In fibromyalgia, chemical messengers called cytokines, which deliver information to cells in the human body, do not work well.

In healthy individuals, cytokines assist in cell growth and repair, help support the immune system, and send messages regarding the need for sleep, pain, stress, achiness, and fever.

Targeting cytokines may be important in the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. In particular, the cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and IL-8 are malfunctioning in fibromyalgia patients.

Web MD denotes a strong connection between Vitamin D levels and unexplained muscle and bone pain. Many people with unexplained muscle pain are now being tested for Vitamin D deficiency and are being found to have severely low levels of Vitamin D.

Dr. Michael Holick, M.D., of the Vitamin D Research Lab at Boston University Medical Center believes that the message to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun has been incorrectly translated to mean people should stay out of the sun entirely.

How much Vitamin D helps with fibromyalgia pain?

The Vitamin D Council suggests a strong link between fibromyalgia and Vitamin D deficiency.

The website quoted a 2007 randomized and placebo- controlled clinical study which concluded that taking 7000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily for eight weeks significantly improved pain symptoms in fibromyalgia patients.

Fibromyalgia patients who were severely deficient in Vitamin D took 50,000 IU Vitamin D (cholecalciferol) weekly for eight weeks.

Before treatment, these patients reported high levels of muscle pain, depression, and worse than normal assessments on fibromyalgia tests. In the group of patients who took high levels of Vitamin D, there was a significant improvement in their fibromyalgia scores.

However, in a follow up one year later, muscle pain and quality of life had not improved significantly. This suggests that Vitamin D for fibromyalgia pain may need to be taken long term to see a consistent and sustained improvement.

The Vitamin D Council suggests always keeping Vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL. Regular blood testing of Vitamin D levels is recommended for fibromyalgia patients.

How much sunlight does it take to make enough Vitamin D?

It takes twenty- five mcg of Vitamin D from the sun to equal 1000 IU Vitamin D.

If a person with fibromyalgia chooses sunlight as the best and most natural form of Vitamin D, and wants to get 50,000 IU every week, then 7000 IU Vitamin D is required daily. This converts to 175 mcg of Vitamin D from sunlight every day.

Discovering how much time in the sun a person with fibromyalgia must spend every day to get 175 mcg of natural Vitamin D is difficult. This is because the intensity of the sun depends on a multitude of factors.

People who desire to get enough Vitamin D from natural sunlight must consider their city’s latitude and longitude on the Earth.

They must also consider the month of the year, their skin color, the time of day they plan to sunbathe, whether the sky is cloudy or clear, the ozone layer, their city’s altitude above sea level, and whether they plan to sunbathe on grass or on concrete near a pool.

For instance, a person living in Central Texas with fair skin who chooses to sunbathe in the grass on a lunch break in August would need to spend thirty minutes in the sun to get 25 mcg of Vitamin D from sun exposure.

If that person had fibromyalgia and wanted to get enough natural Vitamin D from sunlight, the person would need to spend from three and a half to four hours in the sun every day.

If the same person was sunbathing under the same conditions in January, a little over three hours of sun exposure would be needed for just 25 mcg of Vitamin D.

In the winter, there is simply not enough sunlight available during the day to for a person with fibromyalgia to get enough Vitamin D through sun exposure alone.

Can Vitamin D be obtained from food?

There are not very many foods that contain a dietary source of Vitamin D.

The very best source of Vitamin D in food, with the highest concentration of absorbable Vitamin D, is fish liver oil, especially cold water cod liver oil.

One tablespoon of a quality cod liver oil supplement affords 1360 IU Vitamin D, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements with the National Institutes of Heath.

Fatty fish, such as wild caught cold water salmon and swordfish, supply roughly 500 IU Vitamin D per each three ounce serving.

Small amounts of Vitamin D are found in egg yolks and beef liver. Many milk products, cereals, and some orange juice products have been artificially fortified with Vitamin D.

 

Sources


Pubmed. gov, Saudi Medical Journal. 2011 Sep;32(9):925-9. “The relation between vitamin D deficiency and fibromyalgia syndrome in women.” Matthana MH.

Pubmed. gov, Pain Medicine. 2012 Mar;13(3):452-8. "Vitamin D deficiency in women with fibromyalgia in Saudi Arabia." Abokrysha T.

Web MD. com, “Lack of Vitamin D Linked to Pain,” by Salynn Boyles

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