Fibromyalgia is a term coined for a group of symptoms that all more or less are related to fatigue, unimaginable pain, and sleep problems. This term is now commonly being used among the public, and in the clinics as well. This term was coined by William Balfour in 1816, to describe a condition in which individuals complain of severe pain spreading throughout their body and fatigue that makes it impossible to do even the routine household chores. It is believed by some boffins that about 3-6% of the total population of the world, while the other group of experts believes that this disorder remains largely undiagnosed, in their opinion amounting to 75% of the total patients. Various researchers have hypothesized the pathophysiology of this disease, but none of these hypotheses have been proved to be worthwhile. However, what we do know for sure about this disease are the unmistakable symptoms which the patients experience and can tell for sure that they have this condition.
These symptoms are:
- Widespread body pains
- Extreme fatigue
- Sleeping problems
- Cognitive problems that are often referred to as fibro fog.
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle cramps
The sunny vitamin not only helps with the bones’ construction but can also be effective against the fatigue and chronic aches of fibromyalgia. Various research studies have suggested a link between fibromyalgia pain alleviation and consumption of vitamin D supplements. Our body is a natural producer of vitamin D, whenever we expose our skin to direct sunlight. One thing however should be noticed that a few individuals are unable to manufacture this vitamin in the required amounts (according to the National Institutes of Health). These individuals include the ones who are either obese, aged, or have dark skin. Various individuals are likely to be Vitamin D deficient such as those with certain disorders like Crohn’s disease or Celiac disease, or the ones who have little to no exposure to sunlight. Since a few fruits and vegetables naturally contain vitamin D, the best way to guarantee optimum vitamin D levels in the body is by taking vitamin D supplements. The daily dose of Vitamin D is recommended to be 600 International Units (IU) for any individual aged 1 to 70, with 800 International Units (IU) for people aged 71 and above, to a maximum dose of 4000 IU per day as per the instructions of National Institutes of Health. But the fibromyalgia patients must always recommend their physician for the dose required to help with the fibromyalgia symptoms.
Research about Vitamin D and Fibromyalgia Link:
A recent research study conducted in Austria suggested that fibromyalgia sufferers having severe body aches and fatigue must take vitamin D supplements to improve the extremely low levels of this vitamin in their body. The researchers propose that there is no sure cure for this disease, which is characterized by chronic aches, and tiredness, with the exact cause of the disease remaining unclear.
During this research, various experts aimed to ascertain the connection between the vitamin D levels in a patient’s body and the severe aches of fibromyalgia. This research group was supervised and guided by Dr. Florian Wepner, working in the Orthopedic Hospital Vienna Speising. Vitamin D is many times referred to as the vitamin of sunshine, as it is produced by the body utilizing the activity of sunlight on the skin. This research team initiated an RCT or randomized control trial in 30 fibromyalgia sufferers with a lower quantity of vitamin D in their bodies. All the participants in this study were women. Half of these participants were permitted to consume vitamin D supplements orally for about 6 months and then were tracked for 168 days. The other half however received the placebo. The results of this study were published in the February edition of the journal Pain. It was reported that the patients who took these supplements recorded a drop in pain and morn fatigue when compared with the group who didn’t take any supplements. These results started manifesting themselves within a week of consuming vitamin D supplements.
The researchers remarked that Vitamin D could easily be considered as a comparatively safe and reasonable treatment strategy. They further noticed that it could either be used as an immensely economical substitute or as a supplement to the costly medicinal therapy required for this disease. The group leads Dr. Wepner noted that the levels of Vitamin D must be surveilled, and necessarily maintained in fibromyalgia patients, particularly in the cold weathers with low to none sun exposure where vitamin D levels could drastically drop. Even though this study proved successful in reporting a link between fibromyalgia aches relief and vitamin D adjunction, it was unable to present a cause and effect relationship.
Chronic pains and Vitamin D:
A pain medicine specialist treating fibromyalgia patients remarks that fibromyalgia sufferers with extreme body aches need to get their blood vitamin D levels examined, and in case of being low, maintained by vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D deficiency has often been linked to severe widespread body aches, and this further reinforces the idea to restore these levels in the deficient individuals through supplementation. Another research study launched at the Mount Sinai Hospital of New York City sought to determine the link between chronic pain and vitamin D supplementation, and further relating it to fibromyalgia pain relief. The patients participating in this group study were kept under physician care during vitamin D restoration through supplementation and it took various months for the benefits to be manifested. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is naturally deposited in the fat cells for storage. When an individual has lower levels of this vitamin, these fat cells reserves need to be refilled and it might take anywhere from a few weeks to months for these stores to be filled.
Consulting with the physician:
It is however recommended for the individuals who believe themselves to be Vitamin D deficient to always consult their doctor before imbibing the supplements in a large quantity, as too much vitamin D could be harmful and have detrimental effects. Even though more work and research is needed to properly understand the link between fibromyalgia pain relief and vitamin d supplementation, we do know for sure that consuming vitamin D supplements in doses as recommended by the physician will do more good for fibromyalgia aches than harm.