By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
A common vitamin may make a difference in easing the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia, a common condition mostly affecting women. That’s what orthopedic pain specialists at a Vienna clinic believe after conducting the first-ever controlled study on the effect of vitamin D supplementation on fibromyalgia patients. They found marked improvements in symptoms over a 20-week trial period and beyond among patients who took daily vitamin supplements compared to a control group that did not supplement.
The researchers conducted their study with 30 patients, half of whom took the supplement. The other half took a placebo pill. All the participants had beginning blood levels of vitamin D under 32 ng/mL, considered low. The goal was to raise the blood level into the 32-48 range with a vitamin D3 supplement. Using subjective questionnaires on pain and quality of life, the researchers found that optimization of the vitamin D level with supplementation had a positive effect on the perception of pain and physical functioning. Individuals with fibromyalgia often suffer with sleep disorders, poor concentration, morning stiffness, and sometimes anxiety and depression. There is no treatment regarded as a cure for all the symptoms.
The researchers concluded that supplementation represents an “economical therapy” that should be considered for patients with fibromyalgia.
My Viewpoint: Fibromyalgia is a kind of medical “waste basket term” that doctors dole out when they can’t diagnose a patient’s musculoskeletal pain, weakness, and fatigue problem. Something like 10 million Americans are believed to be affected, the overwhelming majority of them women. Past studies have found an association between fibromyalgia and a low vitamin D level in the blood of patients, so the results of this study are interesting.
What This Means To You: The findings are important in the sense that it adds to the growing list of common conditions, including chronic pain, associated with vitamin D deficiency, a global epidemic, according to leading experts. Deficiency occurs as a result of people not getting enough sunlight that generates vitamin D production in the body or getting enough of the actual vitamin in food. Few foods contain ample vitamin D. Those with the highest level include cod liver oil, fish, and fortified cereals and dairy.
Recommendation: Try to obtain 15-20 minutes of mid-day sunlight on a regular basis. And by all means supplement. Taking 2,000 international units (IUs) daily of vitamin D3 make great sense as a general preventive and therapeutic strategy. And if you are dealing with any kind of chronic pain, I strongly recommend Earthing, which is probably the most natural and effective pain-buster on the planet. You can find more details here.
Access the fibromyalgia study here.
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