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Vitamin D Supplements Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain

Researchers say vitamin D may be cost-effective treatment (January 17)

Patients with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) typically experience widespread chronic pain and fatigue. For those with low vitamin D levels, vitamin D supplements can reduce pain and may be a cost-effective alternative or adjunct to other treatments, according to a new study in the journal Pain.

Calcifediol is a prehormone produced in the liver by the enzyme cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Calcifediol is then converted to calcitriol, which is the active form of vitamin D. The concentration of calcifediol in blood is considered the best indicator of a person’s vitamin D status.

In a controlled clinical trial, 30 women with FMS with low serum calcifediol levels (below 32 ng/mL) were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The goal for the treatment group was to achieve serum calcifediol levels of between 32 and 48 ng/mL for 20 weeks via oral cholecalciferol supplements. Serum calcifediol levels were re-evaluated after 5 and 13 weeks, and the dose was reviewed based on the results. The calcifediol levels were measured again 25 weeks after the start of the supplementation, at which time treatment was discontinued, and after a further 24 weeks without supplementation.

Twenty-four weeks after oral cholecalciferol supplementation was stopped, a marked reduction in the level of perceived pain was observed in the treatment group. Between the first and the 25th week on supplementation, the treatment group improved significantly on a scale of physical role functioning, while the placebo group remained unchanged. The treatment group also scored significantly better on the Fibromalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) on the question of “morning fatigue.” However, there were no significant changes in depression or anxiety symptoms.

“FMS is a very extensive symptom complex that cannot be explained by a vitamin D deficiency alone. However, vitamin D supplementation may be regarded as a relatively safe and economical treatment for FMS patients and an extremely cost-effective alternative or adjunct to expensive pharmacological treatment as well as physical, behavioral, and multimodal therapies,” said lead investigator Florian Wepner, MD.

Source: EurekAlert; January 17, 2014.

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