Attacking Fibromyalgia Pain with Vitamin D
You wouldn’t think one of the richest countries in the world would need to worry much about nutritional deficiencies, but the truth might surprise you. Many Americans suffer from some form of nutritional deficiency – such as iron or magnesium deficiency (both of which share many of the same symptoms as fibromyalgia). Among the various nutritional deficiencies plaguing Americans, there is one in particular that has seen a startling increase in recent years – vitamin D deficiency.
According to recent estimates, vitamin D deficiency among Americans has tripled from 1980 to now, with nearly 13% of Americans suffering from it and another 30% on the verge of deficiency. Some of its symptoms closely resemble those of fibromyalgia – including pain, weakness, depression and cognitive impairment (or as we call it “fibro fog”).
The pain and weakness from vitamin D deficiency is most likely a result of the softening & weakening of the bones. According to the Mayo Clinic, “adults with severe vitamin D deficiency may experience bone pain and softness, as well as muscle weakness.” Vitamin D is critical in promoting the absorption of calcium for strong and healthy bones.
Besides promoting calcium absorption and keeping bones healthy, Vitamin D has other less known but equally important benefits. Lets take a look at three of them:
Improve Mental Clarity
According to a recent study by the University of Manchester, subjects with higher levels of vitamin D outperformed other subjects in various tests designed to measure memory and other cognitive functions. A similar study at the University of Cambridge also demonstrated a correlation between higher levels of vitamin D and superior cognitive function.
For those plagued with “fibro fog”, an impairment of various cognitive functions common among fibromyalgia sufferers, vitamin D may help to regain your mental clarity and edge.
D is for Defense
Vitamin D is critical for maintaining a healthy immune system. According to the National Public Institutes of Health, “The implications of vitamin D deficiency on the immune system have become clearer in recent years and in the context of vitamin D deficiency, there appears to be an increased susceptibility to infection.”
As sufferers of a chronic illness like fibromyalgia, your body is under constant stress and attack. Having a stronger immune system is critical to protect your already weakened body from further pain or infection.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute, “vitamin D has been found to have several activities that might slow or prevent the development of cancer, including promoting cellular differentiation, decreasing cancer cell growth, stimulating cell death, and reducing tumor blood vessel formation.”
Some researchers have also noticed vitamin D deficiency to be common among cancer patients. While more research is needed to determine the extent of this possible connection, it is clear that vitamin D has several anti-cancer properties that are effective at inhibiting cancer growth.
If you think you may be vitamin D deficient, talk to your doctor about your concerns and see if you should be tested. Look for ways to incorporate more of the vitamin in your diet – whether it be through food sources such as salmon or through daily supplements of the vitamin. Your body will thank you.