Posted by: Thixia | September 11, 2008

Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Chronic Pain in Women

Women with low vitamin D levels have more chronic widespread pain, a new study has found. The modest findings do not support the use of vitamin D status as a key determinant for chronic pain, researchers suggest, but they do raise interesting questions about the possible influence of endocrine or immunological factors. The work is published online August 12 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.


Chronic widespread pain is thought to be a multifactorial condition. To date, the focus has been on psychosocial influences, note the study investigators, led by Kate Atherton, MD, from the University College London Institute of Child Health, in the United Kingdom. Although associations between chronic pain and general psychological distress, depression, somatization, and other factors have been consistently reported, translating these observations into management strategies has been fairly unsuccessful, they note.


Vitamin D deficiency has been suggested as a new modifiable risk factor for chronic pain. Vitamin D is a hormone precursor, which is obtained either through diet or skin synthesis. Using a nationwide population sample of white British adults, the researchers wanted to examine the link between vitamin D and chronic pain.


Women With Vitamin D Levels of 75 to 99 nmol/L Had Less Pain


“To our knowledge, this study is the largest population-based examination of the association between vitamin D status and chronic widespread pain to date,” write the researchers. The work is also the first to consider related variations in lifestyle factors or to focus on white ethnic groups, they add.


The study included more than 9300 participants in England, Scotland, or Wales born during 1 week in March in 1958 who had completed a biomedical assessment at age 45 years. Of these, 6824 participants had data on 25-hydroxyvitamin D and pain.


Investigators found that chronic pain levels varied by 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration in women, but not in men. “In our study, the lowest prevalence of chronic widespread pain was observed for women with 25-hydroxyvitamin D 75 to 99 nmol/L,” Dr. Atherton and her team report. “This is intriguing given that 25-hydroxyvitamin D 75 nmol/L has been previously suggested as the cut-off point for optimal bone health.”



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