In a February 2014 study (journal: Pain 2014, Feb 01;155(2)261-268), the first known randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted on 30 FM women with serum D3 levels below 32ng/mol/L (80nmol/L). Half were assigned to either vitamin D replacement or a control group that received a placebo (NOT vitamin D). The two groups were re-evaluated again after 24 weeks. The main hypothesis was that those treated with vitamin D3 would have less pain (as measured on a 0-100 pain scale and several additional questionnaires). The study found that there was a marked reduction in pain perception in the FM women treated with D3. Though a larger scale study was recommended to solidify these findings, the authors conclude, “This economical therapy with a low side effect profile may well be considered in patients with FMS.” This study is important, as dosing of vitamin D3 (preferred over D2 commonly prescribed) was based on deficiency levels and provided at 1200 to 2400 IU/day. By the end of three months, those receiving D3 improved from an average of 20 ng/ml to almost 50 ng/ml and reported a 20 point decrease in pain on a 0-100 scale. Further, about 20-25 weeks after discontinuing D3, their levels dropped back to ~26 ng/ml with a corresponding increase in pain levels (by 30%).
WebMD reports similar chronic pain benefits with D3 replacement. In 2003, they reported that D3 deficiency is high “among all U.S. ages, races, and ethnic groups over the past two decades.” They add that a then-recent study found that out of 150 chronic pain patients, 93% of them had “extremely low” D3 levels!
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