The Sunshine Vitamin Soothes Fibromyalgia
Winter weather got you feeling a flare-up in chronic pain or fibromyalgia? You might try supplementation with vitamin D. A new study showed that patients with fibromyalgia who used vitamin D supplements had significant reductions in pain and fatigue compared to a placebo group.
Lead author of the study, Florian Wepner, MD, said that vitamin D supplementation could be "an extremely cost-effective alternative or adjunct to expensive pharmacological treatment as well as physical, behavioral, and multimodal therapies." Wepner says that vitamin D levels should be closely monitored in fibromyalgia patients, especially during the winter.
Fibromyalgia is a complex pain syndrome with no known causes, and no single "cure." Patients typically receive multimodal treatments of physical therapy, medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, massage, and chiropractic care.
Earlier studies have demonstrated that patients with fibromyalgia are likely to be deficient in vitamin D levels, however it was unclear whether supplementation the vitamin could provide clinical benefits.
In a randomized, controlled trial published in the journal PAIN, researchers from the Orthopaedic Hospital in Vienna randomly assigned 30 women with fibromyalgia syndrome to receive either vitamin D supplementation or a placebo. They took serum samples to track changes in a pre-hormone called calcifediol which is believed to be the best indicator of vitamin D levels.
After 24 weeks, the treatment group reported a significant reduction in pain and "morning fatigue." They also showed improvements on a scale that measured physical functioning while the placebo group did not. Supplementation did not appear to affect depression and anxiety symptoms however.
This study adds to the arsenal of natural treatment options available for fibromyalgia patients. Research suggests that chiropractic care and regular exercise could also assist patients in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. Chiropractors trained in nutrition can talk with you about ways to use supplements to aide your body's response to chronic inflammation and pain.
Elsevier. (2014, January 17). "Fibromyalgia pain and fatigue reduced by vitamin D supplementation." Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/271335.
Wepner F, et al. Effects of vitamin D on patients with fibromyalgia syndrome: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. PAIN 2014; 155 (2): 261-268.