Vitamin D and Chronic Pain: What I Learned About Migraines Today

Do you ever feel like you ache right down to your bones?

Maybe this feeling isn’t just metaphorical. It is entirely possible that your bones are actually causing you pain.

I’ve been reading the Power of Vitamin D by Dr. Sarfraz Zaidi. Part of the book focuses on how vitamin D deficiency can cause chronic pain.

How Vitamin D Deficiency Contributes to Chronic Pain

Deep, constant, indescribable pain can be the result of weakened bones.

Vitamin D works with calcium and phosphorus to build new bone. Even when sufficient calcium and phosphorus are present in your diet, a lack of vitamin D means that new bone growth will not occur.

This is further complicated by the relationship between Parathyroid hormone and vitamin D. Parathyroid hormone is created by the parathyroid glands, which are located in the neck just below the thyroid.

Parathyroid hormone maintains an steady level of calcium in the bloodstream. It prevents excessive loss of calcium through the urine and assists the kidneys in converting vitamin D into its active form. Parathyroid hormone will also dissolve calcium from the bones if it is needed to supplement the calcium in the bloodstream.

Vitamin D and parathyroid hormone are inversely related: clinical studies demonstrate that as vitamin D in the blood increases, the amount of parathyroid hormone decreases. People who are deficient in vitamin D will generate excess parathyroid hormone to maintain the calcium level in the blood.

Overall, vitamin D deficiency prevents the growth of new bone and can even accelerate bone loss due to excess parathyroid hormone.

More About Vitamin D

Vitamin D serves many purposes in the body in addition to bone formation. It is important for normal function of the immune system, stimulates insulin production, controls cell growth and blood pressure, and prevents tooth decay. It is also critical in brain development and function, and helps prevent mood disorders like depression.

Vitamin D is not a true vitamin; it is a hormone that is synthesized inside the body. Like many hormones, it is generated from cholesterol through several chemical transformations. The hormone D is initially created in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency is a disease of the industrialized world. Since we spend most of our lives indoors, and slather ourselves with sunscreen when we will be exposed to the sun, our ability to naturally generate vitamin D is severely limited. It is estimated that over 75% of the industrialized world may be deficient in vitamin D.

What I Learned About Migraines Today

One reason that so many people are deficient is that the recommended allowance of 400 IU per day may be completely inadequate for your individual needs. Vitamin supplements with 100% of the RDA may not be enough to make up for the lack of sufficient sunshine. Supplementing up to 25,000 IU daily may be needed to normalize vitamin D availability in your blood.

Dr. Zaidi claims that the risk over overdosing on vitamin D at such high doses is extremely rare. I haven’t reached the full discussion of this in the book, so I  recommend you consult with your doctor before starting any massive supplementation of vitamin D.

If you are chronically fatigued, depressed, and in pain it is worthwhile to have your vitamin D levels checked.  Serum calcium tests can read normal even in cases of severe vitamin D deficiency, due to the influence of parathyroid hormone.

If you have tried vitamin D supplements in the past, please tell me if you’ve noticed any effects on your mood, pain, or immunity in the comment section below.

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