Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain and fatigue condition, with some research suggesting that there is an association with vitamin D deficiency. This post discusses some research in the area, and the use of oral spray vitamins.
Always consult a doctor or medical professional before taking a new supplement.
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Fibromyalgia and vitamin D deficiency
In the UK, vitamin D is one of the few vitamins or minerals that the NHS suggests we consider taking as a supplement. The suggestion of the necessity to take this supplement, at least during the winter months, is for two reasons; firstly, it is difficult for us to get our recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone, and secondly, during autumn and winter, the sun isn’t strong enough in the UK to produce vitamin D. Most countries in Europe, and the Northern Hemisphere more broadly, have an issue with vitamin D deficiency in the population, and Scientific American states that three-quarters of teens and adults in the US are deficient in vitamin D.
So why should we take a vitamin D supplement? According to the NHS, it is important for everyone to have satisfactory vitamin D levels all year-round to ‘protect our musculoskeletal health’. It is also known, as set out by Ellis et al, that this vitamin is essential for our health, and has involvement with 'various inflammatory and pain pathways'. More research on this is given below . . .
There is also, as is my particular interest, an association between fibromyalgia and vitamin D deficiency. This association means that it is particularly important for anyone with this condition to consider taking a supplement (on the advice of their doctor). It is even more important if you are not outside too much in the spring and summer months, or do not eat sufficient quantities of the foods that do contain small amounts of vitamin D: oily fish, red meat, liver and egg yolks. Anyone that follows a vegetarian or vegan diet may wish to consider supplementation given the absence, or limited quantities, of those foods in their diet.
A new way to supplement vitamin D
Vitamin D levels have been something that I have struggled with for years. Every six months I have a blood test to test my level, and until about six months ago it was almost always abnormally low except in the height of summer. This was despite taking prescribed vitamin D supplements in the form of tablets, and spending time in the sun. Although I live in the UK, so we are more used to cloudy skies than blue ones with a blazing sun . . . It was so frustrating not to be able to get my level up to ‘normal’, especially as I was told, often, by doctors that my low levels could be making fatigue worse, and that it could be impacting upon my bone health.
Now this bit is going to sound like an ad, but I promise that it isn’t (nor was this gifted). Finally, about six months ago, my urologist looked at my blood test results and said he wasn’t happy. Yes, yes, I thought. I have heard this before. What am I to do? I take the tablets.
However, this doctor actually made a suggestion that has proven very helpful – to take vitamin D as an oral spray rather than as traditional tablets or capsules. More than that, he actually gave me his recommendation of a brand that he felt was good quality and affordable. His recommendation was the BetterYou DLux 3000 Oral Vit D3 Spray. I have been taking it ever since alongside the other supplements that I take to help with my chronic illnesses.
Taking vitamin D as a spray rather than as tablets, as my doctor advised, means that it goes directly into the bloodstream as it bypasses the digestive system (on this see also the Vitamin D council). It is therefore a great option if you have issues with malabsorption, as the Vitamin D council suggests. And, of course, it is really useful if you have problems with taking tablets orally, or simply prefer not to do so.
There are two ‘strengths’ of the Better You vitamin D spray, a 3000iu and 1000iu. The links below take you to the different ones, in case you are interested, whether you are in the US and the UK. I take the 3000 version as although I am now in the normal range, my doctor wants me to improve it a little more.
My vitamin D levels are now in the normal range, finally! I’m hoping to improve them over time to be more optimal, with a combination of the spray and the (hopefully) sunny skies over the summer. Although it will take some time, I hope that this will improve my levels of fatigue and maybe assist with autoimmune issues as well.
Now if you want to hear some science . . .
What does the research say?
While I have read quite a lot of articles on the relationship between fibromyalgia and vitamin D, I want to begin by stating that I am not a doctor, and have not been able to review every piece of research on this topic. Saying that, the studies I have read are extremely interesting and, in line with NHS advice for all people to consider supplementation, point towards those suffering with the condition needing to consider this also (on the advice of a doctor).
According to Hadinezhad Makrani et al, there is an association between fibromyalgia and vitamin D deficiency. In fact, their study found that vitamin D serum levels were significantly lower in persons with the condition than that of the persons within the control group (who did not have the condition). These findings, they state, aligned with other studies on the association between fibromyalgia and vitamin D levels, although they note that some other studies have not found this.
Most interestingly, Hadinezhad Makrani et al. state that their analysis shows 'credible evidence that vitamin D can be a determinant factor for fibromyalgia'. For this reason, they suggest that 'policymakers should consider supplementation among women as a preventative strategy'. Simply put, this study considers that poor vitamin D levels can be a contributing factor in having fibromyalgia, and that supplementation may prevent the onset of the condition in women. I'm sure that I share with many other women a belief that I wish I had been advised by my doctor to have taken a supplement in my earlier years. Perhaps my health would be a bit different if I had taken a supplement prior to actually becoming unwell.
So, what is the relationship between vitamin D and pain? A study by Olama et al, alongside many others, found a correlation between vitamin D level and pain. In terms of fibromyalgia in particular, a study by Florian et al published in The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, held that 'optimization of calcifediol levels in FMS [fibromyalgia] had a positive effect on the perception of pain'. Other studies cited by Hadinezhad Makrani et al. indicate a correlation between vitamin D levels and quality of life. All in all, it seems beneficial to take a vitamin D, whether you have fibromyalgia or not.
Related post: Quercetin for MCAS
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Please follow the advice of your doctor as to all medical treatments, supplements, and dietary choices, as set out in my disclaimer. I am not a medical professional, and this is simply my story and the resources that are helpful to me.
I have no association with BetterYou, or any of the research studies cited. Note (revised 2021) - I have worked with BetterYou since publishing this post. However, this is not a sponsored post and I did not receive any monetary compensation (or gift) for it.