I was told to take 5000 IU for my chronic pain which is fibromyalgia and chronic migraine. Mostly because there was this suggestion it could help people with chronic pain. But does it help with fibromyalgia pain?
The reason it is researched is that Vitamin D is looked at for Chronic Pain quite a bit.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various chronic pain conditions and vitamin D may influence the perception of pain through its effects on nerve conduction and health, inflammatory signaling, and immune activation.Examine.com
What Vitamin D does that may help with pain perception
Vitamin D is a neuroactive steroid with the ability to influence nerve communication through modulating the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, dopamine, and serotonin, as well as activating a variety of signal transduction systems, such as those related to calcium influx and release from intracellular stores. Additionally, vitamin D upregulates the synthesis of several proteins involved in the survival, development, and function of neurons. Since chronic pain is associated with chemical, functional, and anatomical changes throughout the nervous system, these neuroprotective effects may play a role in vitamin D’s effect on pain.Eamine.com
Yet there has been really no conclusive evidence with chronic pain. No specifics on dosage or duration or type of pain.
A 12 week study of high doses of vitamin D showed no improvements in pain for fibromyalgia.
80 women with fibromyalgia were randomly assigned to receive vitamin D3 50,000 IU in a double-blind study that was published in Clinical Rheumatology
These findings “support the concept that vitamin D is not useful for pain control, at least for the period used in this study,” emphasize David Vega-Morales and fellow investigators from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, Mexico.
Vega-Morales et al acknowledge that, currently, “there are conflicting results about the effect of vitamin D in pain and symptom control, and there is no clear consensus as to the role of supplementation in the management of fibromyalgia.”Rheumatology
However, the study only involved 80 people, and only women. It was limited to just 12 weeks. So I don’t think we should close the door on this research given its limitations. And there has been a lot of research on Vitamin D and chronic pain.
the researchers say they “cannot rule out that a more lasting and prolonged correction of vitamin D levels could induce biochemical changes that lead to a better evolution of other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia other than the pain.”Rheumatology
It is important to remember it could be beneficial for other symptoms or comorbid conditions.
For example, since I have been regularly taking 5000 IU I have noticed it greatly helps manage my Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have also noticed a modest improvement in the severity of my Restless Leg Syndrome, and this suggests I am actually deficient. There was a study on RLS that showed improvement with RLS IF someone was deficient. However, another more recent study showed no improvement. In my case, it did actually help combined with magnesium. Just not sufficiently to stop me from taking an RLS medication.
Also I have Osteopenia so my bones are getting weak- likely due to all the anti-seizure medications I have taken for migraine prevention and steroids for asthma over time. So D, Calcium and magnesium are supplements I should take.
A lot of people have a Vitamin D deficiency
Another thing to consider is that a whole lot of people have a D deficiency. Especially people like me in Northern climates. Approximately 1 billion people in the world have low levels in their blood and do not get enough from the sun or diet alone. “According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans” Healthline
Some signs of a deficiency
- Bone pain
- Slow wound healing
- Hair loss
- Getting sick often
- Bone pain/back pain
- Muscle pain
And you might note with a lot of those and fibromyalgia, we wouldn’t necessarily notice those symptoms because We Have Them.
So although it may not help with pain and certainly I have noticed no pain reduction at the level I am on (way lower than the study but a safe amount recommended by my doctor), I continue to take it for other reasons and benefits. And I wouldn’t discount that it helps with pain based on this specific study either only that perhaps it doesn’t help with fibromyalgia, but… we shall see.