Chemist Direct recommends vitamin D supplements as effective relief for muscular pain, fatigue and other associated illnesses

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Common symptoms found in general practice such as muscular pain, fatigue, and headache may be directly linked to vitamin D deficiency. Individuals suffering from cancer, FMS, and other conditions that include chronic pain may find relief by taking vitamin D supplements.

Muscular pain relief

Muscular pain relief

The elderly and people with dark skin need increased sunlight exposure time for vitamin D synthesis to take place, compared with fair-skinned young individuals who absorb UVB rays better.

Humans receive up to 90 per cent of their vitamin D supply through ultraviolet B sunlight exposure of the skin and the rest through vitamin D-containing foods. Only a few foods naturally contain vitamin D and vitamin D photoproduction is influenced by season, latitude of residence, and skin pigmentation. The elderly and people with dark skin need increased sunlight exposure time for vitamin D synthesis to take place, compared with fair-skinned young individuals who absorb UVB rays better.

Reporting in the February issue of the journal Pain, ( researchers conducted a study on patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) and suffering from widespread chronic pain and fatigue. Researchers hypothesized that vitamin D supplementation would reduce the degree of chronic pain experienced by FMS patients with low levels of calcifediol and also might improve other symptoms. “Low blood levels of calcifediol 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,” says lead investigator Florian Wepner, MD, of the Department of Orthopaedic Pain Management, Spine Unit, Orthopaedic Hospital, Speising, Vienna, Austria.

"We set out to determine whether raising the calcifediol levels in these patients would alleviate pain and cause a general improvement in concomitant disorders. Vitamin D may be regarded as a relatively safe and economical treatment and an extremely cost-effective alternative or adjunct to expensive pharmacological treatment," Wepner said in a journal news release. Vitamin D levels should be monitored in fibromyalgia patients -- especially in the winter when levels can be lower due to less sun exposure -- and adjusted as necessary, Wepner said.

For those with low vitamin D levels, vitamin D supplements were administered as a treatment for related complaints of sleep disorders, morning stiffness, poor concentration, and occasionally mild-to-severe mental symptoms such as anxiety or depression. These conditions can have a significant impact on the patient's quality of life, resulting in loss of employment and/or withdrawal from social life. There is no cure, and no treatment will address all of the symptoms, but some symptoms may be alleviated by physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, temporary drug therapy (such as amitriptyline, duloxetine, or pregabaline) and multimodal therapies. The final report concluded that those who took supplements reported less pain and morning fatigue over time than those who did not receive the supplements.

Vitamin D deficiency is a health problem worldwide and is frequently seen among northern European countries, especially among the immigrant population. Although there have been multiple systematic studies focusing on the effect of vitamin D and the symptoms of a natural occurring vitamin D deficiency, the direct relationship between muscular pain, fatigue, and headache both alone and accompanied by other diagnosed illnesses, needs further study to show consistent results for vitamin D substitution as pain relief treatment. People who worry that they are vitamin D-deficient should always check with their doctor before taking supplements. Taking in too much vitamin D can actually be toxic and cause harm.

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Maria Camanes Fores
Chemist Direct
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