Vitamin D Treatment for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The Benefits

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Vitamin D & Muscle Pain:

Low vitamin D levels can cause muscle pain and weakness. Studies show that as many as 25% of people with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS or ME/CFS) have low vitamin D levels, and that supplementation may help lower pain levels in some cases. One study shows that vitamin D-deficient people need twice as much narcotic pain reliever as non-deficient people.

Your body needs vitamin D to help with calcium absorption and for bone growth and strength. Along with calcium, vitamin D protects you from osteoporosis.

Vitamin D Dosage:

Some FMS and ME/CFS experts recommend between 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily, which far exceeds the National Institutes of Health's recommendation of 600 IU/day for most adults. However, recent discoveries about the importance of vitamin D for overall health are changing opinions about how much is enough.

Make sure to talk to your doctor about how much vitamin D you should be taking. If you take a high dosage, your doctor may want to test your levels periodically to ensure you're not getting too much.

Vitamin D in Your Diet:

If you prefer to get vitamin D through foods instead of or in addition to supplements, it's fairly easy to do.

Vitamin D is naturally available in:

  • Eggs,
  • Swiss cheese,
  • Some types of fish, including salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.

    You also get it from sunshine, so just increasing your time outside can help. In addition, food makers add it cereal and milk, which was originally done to help prevent rickets in children.

    Vitamin D Side Effects:

    As with just about any supplement, vitamin D can cause unwanted side effects. In fact, too much vitamin D is potentially toxic.

    Potential side effects include:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Poor appetite
    • Constipation
    • Weakness
    • Weight loss

    Again, be sure to include your doctor about how much vitamin D is right for you.

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    Journal of Rheumatology, 2001 Nov:28(11):2535-9. All rights reserved. "Vitamin D levels in women with systemic lupus erythematosus and fibromyalgia."

    National Institutes of Health. "Dietary Supplements Fact Sheet: Vitamin D." Accessed January 2014.

    Pain Journal. 2008 Mar 11. (Epub ahead of print.) All rights reserved. "Prevalence and Clinical Correlates of Vitamin D Inadequacy among Patients with Chronic Pain."

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