Fibromyalgia is a medical condition where the individual experiences pain all over the body often exhibiting other symptoms including fatigue, stiff joints, disturbed sleep, bowel problems and other subtle abnormalities that may go unnoticed. Although, its cause is still under research, it is usually observed to go in hand in hand with psychiatric disorders such clinical depression or post traumatic stress disorder. Different individuals exhibit a varying degree of the symptoms; however, the most common is widespread pain with fatigue.
Research indicates that vitamin D and fibromyalgia may be related.
A study from Austria led by Dr. Florian Wepner, Orthopedic Hospital Vienna Speising suggests that taking vitamin D supplements may benefit those suffering from fibromyalgia. The researchers wanted to discover if there was any link between Vitamin D and fibromyalgia.
For the purpose a randomized controlled trial was conducted in 30 women with fibromyalgia who also had low vitamin d levels. Some women were given supplements for 25 weeks and were again monitored for 24 weeks.
In the February 2014 issue of the journal ‘Pain’, researchers claimed that those who were given supplements reported lesser pain and morning fatigue over a period of time when compared to those who weren’t given supplements.
Wepner said that Vitamin D may be a relatively safer and cost-effective alternative to expensive treatments for fibromyalgia. Vitamin D levels in fibromyalgia patients should be regularly monitored and more so during the winter season when there is little exposure to sunlight so that the Vitamin D dose can be accordingly adjusted.
Even though the study has found a link between Vitamin D supplements and improvement in the chronic pain of fibromyalgia, it is not sufficient to establish a cause and effect interrelationship between Vitamin D Deficiency and Fibromyalgia.
However, this study does strengthen the argument to replenish depleted Vitamin D levels in individuals suffering from the deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation usually takes a longer time to show results since Vitamin D being a fat soluble vitamin is stored in the body’s fat cells. When an individual is low on these levels, they need to be replenished which takes months to take full effect.
So far there has been no evidence that the symptoms or risk of fibromyalgia could be related to exposure to sunlight. However, many suffering from fibromyalgia have been reported to be Vitamin D deficient. According to Vitamin D council, if that is the case, then sunlight exposure or supplementation may reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
A study was conducted in Minnesota with people suffering from fibromyalgia who also had low Vitamin D levels. The clinical trial had two groups of people – one was given a placebo while the other was given Vitamin D3 supplements (7000 IU/day). The results were analyzed after a period of 8 weeks where those receiving placebos reported no improvement, those who were put on Vitamin D3 supplementation showed dramatic improvement. However, those with severe Vitamin D deficiency did not show much symptom improvement during the trial.
If you feel that you may be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, it’s best to consult your physician and trust their judgment. Never self medicate.