Effects of Vitamin D on Fibromyalgia
Sunshine has gotten a lot of negative press over the past few decades. The skin cancer scare turned people away from sunshine and the paranoia around spending time in the sun without 30spf sun block has created an entire generation of sick people. The way that has happened is through vitamin D deficiency, caused by a lack of exposure to the sun.
What You Need to Know About Vitamin D
Here are some facts about vitamin D:
1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
2. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. The only reliable way to generate vitamin D is in your own body through exposure to sunlight on your skin.
3. Adequate levels of vitamin D are vital for calcium absorption in the intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D calcium isn't absorbed meaning that taking calcium supplements is wasted.
4. Even weak sunscreens (SPF8) block the body's ability to create vitamin D by 95%. By creating a deficiency of vitamin absorption in the body, disease is caused.
5. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure. Your body knows what it needs and will self-regulate intake.
6. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed quickly. It takes years of supplementation and sun exposure to rebuild bones and the nervous system.
7. Your kidneys and liver activate vitamin D in your body - so if you have liver or kidney disease, your body's ability to utilize and activate vitamin D will be impaired.
8. The best thing about vitamin D is that your body produces it. It is free. You don't need a prescription for this amazing healing chemical.
When You Don't Have Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D is responsible for myriad functions in the body such as bone health, cellular replication, insulin production, immune function and heart health...the list goes on and on. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to any number of illnesses and symptoms, including:
· Muscle weakness
· Heart disease
· Multiple sclerosis
· Autoimmune diseases
· Joint pain
Many of these symptoms are consistent with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. A study reported in Clinical Rheumatology found that vitamin D deficiency is common in people with fibromyalgia and also occurs more often in those with anxiety and depression - two additional symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. Although vitamin D deficiency is not the principal cause of pain and muscle weakness, it is certainly a contributing factor - which is why vitamin D supplementation is gaining strength in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
What Good is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is necessary for the proper maintenance of bone and muscular health. The connection between vitamin D deficiency and fibromyalgia is thought to be in the metabolic function of vitamin D and the synthesis of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the body. Lower levels of circulating calcium are the result of vitamin D deficiency and these low levels of calcium create a biochemical reaction by elevating PTH. The elevated levels of PTH impair proper bone mineralization which ultimately generates pain. This entire process can lead to fibromyalgia.
How to Get Vitamin D
Addressing vitamin D deficiency is important to people suffering with fibromyalgia, especially since it is possible to reduce some of the pain and symptoms of the disorder with adequate levels of vitamin D in the body. The easiest way to get a dose of vitamin D is through direct sunlight exposure to the skin for 15 to 30 minutes a day. Vitamin D3 supplementation is another way to raise the levels of vitamin D in the body. It is difficult to determine exact levels because they vary by individual so proper testing and professional guidance is important.
Even though the exact link between vitamin D and fibromyalgia isn't fully understood, most research confirms that vitamin D deficiency is a contributor to muscular and skeletal pain.