Researchers out of Austria have found vitamin D supplementation may lessen pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia syndrome?
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a disease characterized mainly by widespread pain throughout the body. Additionally those with FMS experience fatigue, memory and mood issues. Researchers aren’t sure yet what causes FMS, but some think it is due to increased sensitivity to pain signals by the brain.
What's the Link Between Fibromyalgia and Vitamin D?
Few studies have looked at vitamin D and FMS. So far, the main link found is that those suffering from FMS often have low vitamin D levels. Additionally, studies have shown vitamin D can be beneficial to different types of pain in general, not specific to FMS.
“Low blood levels of calcifediol [25(OH)D] are especially common in patients with severe pain and fibromyalgia. But although the role of calcifediol in the perception of chronic pain is a widely discussed subject, we lack clear evidence of the role of vitamin D supplementation in fibromyalgia patients,” stated lead researcher Dr. Florian Wepner.
Can Vitamin D Supplementation Help With Pain In Those Suffering From FMS?
To answer this question, the research team looked at a group of 30 women with FMS who all had vitamin D levels below 32 ng/ml. They randomized the women to either receive vitamin D supplementation or a placebo. Their goal for the vitamin D group was to raise their levels to between 32 and 48 ng/ml over the course of 20 weeks.
Twenty-four weeks after vitamin D supplementation stopped, the researchers found a marked reduction in perceived pain among the treatment group. Compared to the placebo group, the treatment group significantly improved on physical role functioning and on morning fatigue. There were, however, no alterations in depression or anxiety symptoms.
“We believe that the data presented in the present study are promising. FMS is a very extensive symptom complex that cannot be explained by a vitamin D deficiency alone. However, vitamin D supplementation may be regarded as a relatively safe and economical treatment for FMS patients and an extremely cost-effective alternative or adjunct to expensive pharmacological treatment as well as physical, behavioral, and multimodal therapies,” said Dr. Wepner.
Bottom Line: Vitamin D levels should be monitored regularly in FMS patients, especially in the winter season, and raised appropriately.
Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods