Thursday, April 30, 2009

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Chronic Pain

Could Vitamin D deficiency be linked to chronic pain? A new Mayo Clinic Study says yes.

The study focused on patients who were being treated for chronic pain and who had been prescribed narcotic pain medication. The results showed that patients who had low Vitamin D levels required almost twice as much pain medication as those with adequate levels of the vitamin.

The study also showed a striking correlation between obesity, as measured by body mass index, and low levels of the vitamin.

Vitamin D, which is known as the sunshine vitamin because exposure to sunlight triggers the body to produce it, is known to play a significant role in promoting bone and muscle strength. Low levels of the vitamin are associated with bone fractures, musckle weakness, and bone cell death.

Dr. Michael Turner, head of the Mayo Clinic study, called Vitamin D deficiency an under-recognized source of diffuse pain and impaired neuromuscular function and said that recognizing the importance of adequate vitamin D levels could substantially improve the quality of life for chronic pain patients.

People at most risk for vitamin D deficiency include the elderly, those with limited sun exposure, pregnant women, and people with various types of bowel disease and people with chronic kidney disease.

However studies of American school children also show a troubling trend to deficient vitamin D levels. Increasing incidence of a number of disorders, including a reappearance of the bone-softening disease rickets, have been associated with low levels of the vitamin.

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