Friday, December 5, 2008

Looking for pain relief? Try Vitamin D.


Here's some more interesting stuff on Vitamin D, taken from an article published on PR.com as one of their Pain Treatment Topics in June 2008. As always, check with your doctor before beginning this or any vitamin regimen.
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Pain is the most common complaint leading patients to seek medical care and much of it is chronic, lasting 3 months or longer. According to an extensive review of clinical research in a recent report from Pain Treatment Topics, inadequate vitamin D intake has been linked to a long list of chronic painful maladies, including bone and joint pain of various types, muscle pain, fibromyalgia syndrome, rheumatic disorders, osteoarthritis, and other complaints. Lack of vitamin D also has been implicated in the mood disturbances of chronic fatigue syndrome and seasonal affective disorder.

According to Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD, editor of Pain Treatment Topics and author of the report, "our examination of the research, including 22 clinical investigations of patients with various chronic pain and fatigue syndromes, found that these persons almost always had inadequate levels of vitamin D. When sufficient vitamin D supplementation was provided, the aches, pains, weakness, and related problems in most of them either vanished or were at least helped to a significant extent."

The report, "Vitamin D A Neglected 'Analgesic' for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain," was peer-reviewed by a panel of 8 experts and includes the following important points:-- Vitamin D is a complex nutrient that functions as a hormone to benefit numerous body tissues and organs, including bones, muscles, and nerves.

A surprising majority of persons in many parts of the world, including the United States, do not get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure or foods. Why such deficiencies are associated with pain in some persons but not others is not always known.

The currently recommended adequate intake of vitamin D up to 600 IU per day is outdated and too low. According to the research, most children and adults need at least 1000 IU per day, and persons with chronic musculoskeletal pain would benefit from 2000 IU or more per day of supplemental vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol).

Vitamin D supplements have a highly favorable safety profile. They interact with very few drugs or other agents, and are usually not harmful unless extremely high doses such as, 50,000 IU or more are taken daily for an extended period of time.
Vitamin D supplements are easy for patients to self-administer, are well tolerated, and typically cost as little as 7 to 10 cents per day.

However, Leavitt stresses that vitamin D should not be viewed as a cure for all pain conditions and in all patients. It also is not necessarily a replacement for other pain treatments. "While further research would be helpful," he says, "current best evidence indicates that recommending supplemental vitamin D for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorders would do no harm and could do much good at little cost. It should be considered by healthcare providers for their patients early in the course of pain management."

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