(NaturalHealth365) As of 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that roughly 5 million people suffered from fibromyalgia; there is little doubt that the number is higher today. The disease, which causes pain and sensitivity in joints and muscles, is accompanied by a constellation of symptoms that can include fatigue, morning stiffness, depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
As of yet, conventional medicine offers no cure for this debilitating condition – which can lower quality of life, impair relationships, and torpedo careers. Doctors sometimes treat fibromyalgia with the prescription drug amitriptylene. However, the drug can cause a laundry list of side effects that include drowsiness, dizziness and weight gain – to list a few.
How is a poor diet connected to fibromyalgia?
Of course, most conventionally-trained physicians have no idea what causes fibromyalgia, although triggers can include physical and emotional trauma and viral infection. According to natural healthcare professionals, poor quality soils, farming techniques and genetically engineered foods have made food less nutritious – causing a general lack of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients and antioxidants. Along with a lack of exposure to sunlight, this deadly combination can lead to a deficiency in vitamin D – which may be a contributing factor in the onset of fibromyalgia.
What does vitamin D do inside the body?
Vitamin D, considered both a nutrient and a hormone, is essential for bone health, as well as the maturation of infection-fighting white blood cells. Vitamin D also reduces production of cytokines – giving it anti-inflammatory effects.
In order to diagnose a vitamin D deficiency, doctors measure blood levels of calcifediol, also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Calcifediol, produced in the liver, is a precursor to vitamin D – which is converted to active vitamin D in the body. Low levels of calcifediol are common in fibromyalgia patients, especially those whose painful symptoms are severe.
Vitamin D proven to help fibromyalgia patients
Researchers have long suspected that vitamin D supplementation might reduce the chronic pain of vitamin D-deficient fibromyalgia sufferers. Researchers have just announced the results of a new randomized, placebo controlled study – considered the gold standard of medical research.
The study, conducted by researchers at Orthopaedic Hospital in Vienna, Austria and published in the January, 2014 issue of the medical journal Pain, involved 30 women with both fibromyalgia and low levels of calcifediol.
The women’s calcifediol levels were measured at regular intervals, and vitamin D supplementation was given to ensure that levels – originally under 32 nanograms per millilter – were raised to the 32-48 ng/ml range. All the women receiving vitamin D supplementation reported substantial improvement in pain and a lessening of chronic morning fatigue.
The placebo group, who had not received supplementation, had no alleviation whatsoever of painful symptoms. While pointing out that fibromyalgia is a complex condition that can’t be attributed to vitamin D deficiency alone, researchers called the data “promising” and a “relatively safe and cost-effective” therapy.
Beyond the current headlines – vitamin D is well researched
In a three-year cohort study published in Saudi Medical Journal, researchers found that of 100 women with fibromyalgia, more than half (61%) were deficient in vitamin D. The team administered 50,000 IU of ergocalciferol weekly – until blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D surpassed 50ng/ml. At various intervals, they assessed the women using the number of tender points – a common indicator of fibromyalgia – as well as a questionnaire.
By the time the women’s vitamin D levels reached 30ng/ml, 42 women were already showing significant improvement; when blood levels exceeded 50 ng/ml, the improvements were even more pronounced. The team concluded that vitamin D deficiency had to be considered when treating fibromyalgia.
How much should I supplement with vtiamin D?
Although studies have used 50,000 IU a week, most vitamin D experts suggest that 8,000 IU (or more) per day may be necessary to increase low vitamin D blood levels. Naturally, every person has a different set of metabolic issues and working with a qualified medical professional is essential for those suffering with pain.
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