London, Jan 19 (IANS): Vitamin D supplements may help reduce chronic pain in fibromyalgia patients, says a new study.
Fibromyalgia syndrome is characterised by chronic muscle and joint pain, fatigue and sometimes anxiety or depression.
"Vitamin D supplement may be a relatively safe and economical treatment for people with fibromyalgia," said Florian Wepner, MD, of the department of orthopaedic pain management at orthopaedic hospital in Vienna.
They studied whether raising patients' vitamin D levels to the recommended range would help with some of their symptoms.
Thirty patients with fibromyalgia who also had low levels of vitamin D in their blood were randomly assigned to take either oral vitamin D supplements, or a placebo, for 20 weeks.
Weeks after the treatment ended, patients who took the supplements were still experiencing reduced pain, while people who had taken placebo didn't see a change in their pain level, according to the study published in the journal Pain.
The patients who took vitamin D saw reductions in their pain but there were no significant changes in their depression or anxiety symptoms.
Low levels of vitamin D are especially common in patients with severe pain and fibromyalgia, the researchers said.
However, the vitamin is not a cure for the condition. "Fibromyalgia cannot be explained by a vitamin D deficiency alone," he said.
"Vitamin D levels should be monitored regularly in fibromyalgia patients, especially in the winter season, and raised appropriately," Wepner said.