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Aches? Pains? An Extra Dose of Vitamin D May Provide Relief

  [ 2 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • November 19, 2008

Helping patients to overcome their chronic muscle, bone, or joint aches and pains may be as simple, safe, and inexpensive as an extra daily supplement of vitamin D. A 50-page peer-reviewed research report from reviews the evidence and provides clinical guidance.

Pain is the most common complaint leading patients to seek medical care and much of it is chronic, lasting 3 months or longer.

According to an extensive review of clinical research in a new report from Pain Treatment Topics, inadequate vitamin D intake has been linked to a long list of chronic painful maladies, including:

• Bone and joint pain of various types,
• Muscle pain,
• Fibromyalgia syndrome,
• Rheumatic disorders,
• Osteoarthritis,
• And other complaints.

Lack of vitamin D also has been implicated in the mood disturbances of chronic fatigue syndrome and seasonal affective disorder.

According to Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD, editor of Pain Treatment Topics and author of the report, “Our examination of the research - including 22 clinical investigations of patients with various chronic pain and fatigue syndromes - found that these persons almost always had inadequate levels of vitamin D. When sufficient vitamin D supplementation was provided, the aches, pains, weakness, and related problems in most of them either vanished or were at least helped to a significant extent.”

The free-access report, Vitamin D – A Neglected ‘Analgesic’ for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain, was peer-reviewed by a panel of 8 experts.

It includes the following important points:

• Vitamin D is a complex nutrient that functions as a hormone to benefit numerous body tissues and organs, including bones, muscles, and nerves.

• A surprising majority of persons in many parts of the world, including the United States, do not get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure or foods. Why such deficiencies are associated with pain in some persons but not others is not always known.

• The currently recommended adequate intake of vitamin D – up to 600 IU per day – is outdated and too low. According to the research, most children and adults need at least 1000 IU per day, and persons with chronic musculoskeletal pain would benefit from 2000 IU or more per day of supplemental vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol).

• Vitamin D supplements have a highly favorable safety profile. They interact with very few drugs or other agents, and are usually not harmful unless extremely high doses – such as, 50,000 IU or more – are taken daily for an extended period of time.

• Vitamin D supplements are easy for patients to self-administer, are well tolerated, and typically cost as little as 7 to 10 cents per day.

Besides the comprehensive Research Report (50 pages, 170 references), there is available a shorter Practitioner Briefing (7 pages) that summarizes the report and provides guidance for healthcare providers. Additionally, a special Patient BrochureVitamin D: A Champion of Pain Relief (6 pages) explains what vitamin D is, how it works, and how it may help in relieving pain.

All 3 documents are available for free access at:

In conclusion, Leavitt stresses that vitamin D should not be viewed as a cure for all pain conditions and in all patients. It also is not necessarily a replacement for other pain treatments.

“While further research would be helpful,” he says, “current best evidence indicates that recommending supplemental vitamin D for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorders would do no harm and could do much good at little cost.

“It should be considered by healthcare providers for their patients early in the course of pain management.”

Contact Information
Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief; Pain Treatment Topics

* * * *

The source of this information is a public press release, which notes that "Pain Treatment Topics and the associated website provide open and free access to noncommercial, evidence-based clinical news, information, research, and education on the causes and effective treatment of the many types of pain conditions. It is independently produced and currently supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Covidien/Mallinckrodt Inc., St. Louis, MO, a leading manufacturer of generic opioid analgesic products. Neither the author nor the sponsor has any vested interests in the nutritional supplement field."

Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any illness, condition, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it collaboratively with your professional healthcare team.

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