Vitamin D for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Vitamin D for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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Vitamin D for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

By Adrienne Dellwo, About.com GuideJanuary 25, 2011

Chronic Fatigue Syndromewww.dnrsystem.comInnovative neural rehabilitation. Recover through neuroplasticity.

Blog Update: Originally Published Aug. 28, 2010

Vitamin D is one of the most frequently recommended supplements for people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and with good reason. But is your supplement doing enough for you?

Vitamin D is responsible for a host of functions in your body — bone health, cellular replication, insulin production, immune function, heart heath … the list goes on and on.  Deficiencies are linked to all kinds of symptoms and illnesses, including chronic pain, muscle weakness, arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and autoimmunity.  It also makes you need up to twice as much of an opiate pain killer.

Now get this — at least one study has shown that about 25% of us with these conditions are deficient.  Odds are good that many more of us aren’t technically deficient, but in the lower end of the “normal” range.

For years now, I’ve been taking 1,250 I.U. of vitamin D every day.  I also make sure to get at least a little sunlight on a regular basis and I try to eat vitamin d-rich foods.  But get this — my levels are consistently in that low end.  Some researchers believe we have problems properly absorbing nutrients, and I have to think there’s something to that.

A lot of doctors refuse to treat people who are on the low end, but technically not deficient, when it comes to lots of things (vitamins, hormones, etc.)  Fortunately, my doctor isn’t one of them.  My fibromyalgia symptoms are pretty well controlled, yet while several types of pain have diminished, I still have a huge amount of muscle pain.  She looked back at my test results and saw that my vitamin D tended to be barely in range and had me tested again.  The nurse later called to tell me that the “acceptable” range is 30-100, and I came in at 39.  The doctor had told me she’s seeing muscle pain drop off in a lot of patients when she gets them up to about 60 or 70.

I’ve just started a prescription mega-dose of vitamin D — 50,000 I.U. twice a week for 6 weeks, then 2,000 daily after that, along with periodic re-checks.  After just 2 doses, I have to say, I’m feeling better overall.  My head is clearer, I’m sleeping better, waking up easier, and yes, my muscle pain isn’t nearly as bad as it was a few days ago.

Update: 5 Months Later

I wrote this blog back in August 2010, and it’s now January 2011.  After I finished off the prescription supplement, I had my vitamin D level checked and it was up in the 60s.  I felt a lot better and started taking 5,000 I.U. a day in an over-the-counter supplement.  A 3-month follow-up test revealed that my level is holding steady there.

In spite of having been on crutches for a few weeks because of a knee injury, and sleeping on the couch to keep my leg elevated, I’ve only been having minor muscle pain.  The last time I was on crutches, I had a lot more arm, shoulder and back pain, and it stuck around for a lot longer.  I have to believe it’s the vitamin D.  I think this is the lowest level of muscle pain I’ve had in 30 years.

That said, I certainly don’t advocate upping your own supplementation to extreme levels!  There’s a reason these mega-doses are by prescription only — too much vitamin D is potentially toxic.  What I do suggest is asking your doctor to check your levels, treat a deficiency, and, if you’re on the low end of normal, talk about options.

So what if you’re on the lower end and your doctor won’t treat you?  Some people may decide to up their supplements, and if that’s what you do, please be careful!  Know the side effects of too much and keep a close eye on yourself.  Even if your doctor doesn’t agree with what you’re doing, TELL HIM/HER ABOUT IT and ask to be rechecked a couple of months down the road.  Decisions about your health care are yours to make, but keeping your doctor informed can help you avoid potentially serious problems.

Get more information, including dietary sources and side effects:

Do you have a vitamin D problem?  Have you been treated for deficiency or being on the low end of normal?  What did it do for you?  Leave your comments below!

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