Vitamin D for Pain

Look­ing for more input on how you can man­age back pain or chron­ic pain?  I’ll get right to the point – con­sid­er your vit­a­min-D lev­els.

Four Facts About Vitamin D for Pain

FACT 1: Many peo­ple in the US are vit­a­min-D defi­cient or have bor­der­line lev­els

Per­haps half of the adults in the US have blood lev­els of vit­a­min D that are sub-opti­mal, if not down­right defi­cient.

Tech­ni­cal­ly, a blood lev­el of 25 (OH)D (that’s the chem­i­cal sym­bol for the major cir­cu­lat­ing form of the vit­a­min) below 30 ng/mL would be con­sid­ered bor­der­line, with any­thing below 20 ng/mL con­sid­ered “D-ficient.”

FACT 2: Low lev­els of vit­a­min D have been cor­re­lat­ed with back pain (and oth­er mus­cle aches and pains too)

Numer­ous sur­veys of patients with back pain and chron­ic pain have turned up the fact that low vit­a­min D lev­els are more like­ly to occur in peo­ple with back pain or oth­er forms of chron­ic mus­cu­loskele­tal pain.

We don’t know the exact rea­sons why vit­a­min D defi­cien­cy cor­re­lates with back pain.  That’s because the role of vit­a­min D in the body is quite com­plex and the vit­a­min plays a part in many inter­nal chem­i­cal process­es.

In fact, most phys­i­ol­o­gists now would pre­fer to rename vit­a­min D and call it a hor­mone (or a pre-hor­mone) rather than a vit­a­min.  But it’s too late for that — we’re stuck with the name “vit­a­min”- D.

One spe­cif­ic role of vit­a­min D we know about is its role in cal­ci­um absorp­tion.  It’s not only good for your back pain, it can also help you main­tain bone mass.

FACT 3: Pro­vid­ing patients with vit­a­min D sup­ple­ments can often reverse back pain

Here’s one exam­ple.  In a study of 360 women with pain, vit­a­min D ther­a­py reduced symp­toms in 96%.

There are oth­er sim­i­lar research stud­ies, too.

FACT4: Sup­ple­men­ta­tion with extra vit­a­min D for pain is safe

Vit­a­min D is stored in your fat cells and you can’t get rid of it in your urine.  So doc­tors were afraid that with heavy-duty sup­ple­men­ta­tion, vit­a­min D lev­els could rise too high.

That’s hypo­thet­i­cal­ly pos­si­ble.  But the gen­er­al lev­el of alarm about over­do­ing vit­a­min D sup­ple­ments has qui­et­ed con­sid­er­ably.  Very few cas­es of vit­a­min D tox­i­c­i­ty are ever report­ed.

On the oth­er hand, don’t go nuts with the vit­a­min bot­tle.  Rea­son­able Vit­a­min D sup­ple­men­ta­tion is often a good thing.  But twice as much of a good thing isn’t twice as good.

What You Should Do Now

You have two choic­es.

  1. The first is to see your doc­tor and have your vit­a­min D lev­els checked.  Then base your strat­e­gy on what the blood tests show.
  2. A sec­ond strat­e­gy might also make sense.  You can just start tak­ing a rea­son­able dose of vit­a­min D and see if your symp­toms improve.  Don’t be impa­tient though.  Vit­a­min sup­ple­ments don’t usu­al­ly cre­ate a dra­mat­ic bang right off the bat.  You’ll have to stick with it for a month or two before you eval­u­ate your results.

If I decide to take a vit­a­min D sup­ple­ment with­out hav­ing my blood lev­els test­ed first, how much is safe to take?

If you’re known to be defi­cient, many doc­tors rec­om­mend a dai­ly dose of up to 10,000 IU (Inter­na­tion­al Units) of vit­a­min D.   Once the blood lev­els rise to an accept­able lev­el, the plan is to switch to per­haps 2,000 units per day for long-term main­te­nance.

So if you want to try vit­a­min D sup­ple­ments with­out hav­ing your blood test­ed first, one rea­son­able approach is to try a sup­ple­ment of 2,000 IU dai­ly.  It would be unusu­al to accu­mu­late too much tis­sue vit­a­min D with this approach.

It might take quite a while for you to see results, par­tic­u­lar­ly if your sys­tem was sig­nif­i­cant­ly deplet­ed of vit­a­min D to begin with.  If you’re impa­tient to see results, per­haps you should try choice #1 and see your doc­tor.

What type of vit­a­min D sup­ple­ment should I take?

There are two forms of vit­a­min D com­mon­ly found in our diet – D2 (ergo­cal­cif­er­ol) and D3 (chole­cal­cif­er­ol).  D3 is the type of vit­a­min D your body man­u­fac­tures when you expose your skin to sun­light.

Though it’s hard to prove that such fine-tun­ing is impor­tant, many health author­i­ties rec­om­mend that you use a sup­ple­ment con­tain­ing the vit­a­min in the D3 form, since the body process­es it into the active form of the vit­a­min more effi­cient­ly.

 

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Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Exten­sive med­ical sum­ma­ry of the cur­rent state of our vit­a­min D knowl­edge

Nutri­tion sup­ple­ments vs. phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals for low back pain

Vit­a­min D2 vs D3

New research: low vit­a­min D may be the result of poor health, not the cause of it

 

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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website, askdrlavine.com, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at drlavine@yourbodyofknowledge.com or at 212-400-9663.

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2 Responses to Vitamin D for Pain

  1. Pingback: Vitamin D2 Vs D3

  2. George Blomme says:

    Good sim­ple rem­e­dy Ron.

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