Fibromyalgia can be a very debilitating condition. It is characterized by extreme fatigue and sleep disturbances, cognitive difficulties and headaches, but above all by fibromyalgia pain that affects soft tissues rather than joints. Frequently there are multiple trigger points that are tender to the touch.
The cause of fibromyalgia is unclear. There may be an underlying genetic susceptibility, and there may be infections that can set off the fibromyalgia pain. But usually doctors can’t track down a specific cause. Twenty years ago that meant they would dismiss fibromyalgia pain as “psychosomatic.” Fortunately, that is no longer the case in most instances.
Vitamin D Deficiency as a Contributor to Fibromyalgia Pain:
Q. A few years ago my vitamin D was so low it was almost undetectable.
I had widespread muscle and joint pain and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My feet would cramp so badly at night that I was unable to walk. My hands burned and ached and I could not make a fist nor spread my fingers without extreme pain. My elbows were so painful I could not even lean them on a foam pillow. I was miserable.
My doctor said that women with fibromyalgia do not make enough vitamin D, no matter how much sun they get. I live in Florida and get plenty of sun!
How Much Vitamin D Is Needed?
I was prescribed 50,000 units once a week with 3,000 IU daily thereafter. My vitamin D level was still low and the dose went up to 5,000 IU.
I now take 7,000 IU of vitamin D daily. Adding vitamin D to my daily multi vitamin has been a lifesaver. Many of the fibro symptoms went away and others have been mitigated.
I advise women with fibromyalgia symptoms to have their vitamin D levels checked. It’s a simple test that changed my life.
A. The question of whether vitamin D supplements can ease fibromyalgia pain is a bit controversial. One small randomized controlled trial (Pain, Feb., 2014) found significant benefit.
Keeping 25-Hydroxyvitamin D in the Sweet Spot:
A review by the advocacy group Vitamin D Council suggests that people with fibromyalgia should try to keep their level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, measured with the simple blood test you mentioned, at or above 40 nanograms/milliliter. If your doctor has not or will not measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D for you, the Vitamin D Council has partnered with ZRT Laboratories to provide a DIY home test for a relatively reasonable fee.
Our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency has information on many of the symptoms of low vitamin D and how to increase this crucial vitamin.