Vitamin D Fact 6 It May Make Your Body Leaner
Being lean can take pounds off your joints, thereby reducing joint pain.
You start taking vitamin D. Your aches and pains get better. You might get more energy. That might make you feel like exercising more.
But vitamin D3 also may independently make you leaner. Why? Deficiency of vitamin D is associated with extra infiltration or accumulation of fat within the muscle fibers of your body.
Therefore, vitamin D may change the structure and function of your muscles, but also, when your levels of vitamin D go up, you may get leaner.
It helps with muscle contraction, so exercise will likely feel a whole lot easier. It helps normalize testosterone and estrogen levels.
Studies using higher levels of vitamin D and giving it longer term demonstrate that vitamin D may help people who are trying to lose weight. For example, 50,000 IU vitamin D per week resulted in weight loss, reduced waist width, hip width, and cholesterol improvement compared to placebo in obese and overweight women.
The vitamin D group lost more weight than the group not taking vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 Should Be One Of Your Joint Pain Vitamins
Nutrients can fall short, which cause your body to have fatigue, aches, pains, hormone imbalances and more. Joint pain vitamins are just beginning to be recognized as important for reducing the need for dangerous pain-relieving prescription drugs.
Pain relief strategies should absolutely focus on vitamin D and other nutrient supplements. Why? Vitamin D3 is more of a hormone than a vitamin, and because of this, has at least a thousand functions in the body.
Many other nutrients play a role in the structure of the joint as well, making nutrients an easy option to start maximizing.
This blog focuses on vitamin D facts, how other nutrients help with joint pain, and how you can optimize your health with a few simple steps.
First, here are the facts about vitamin D that you should know to make an informed decision about where and how to get it.
Using Vitamin D As A Joint Pain Supplement
The following randomized clinical trials dosed vitamin D in the following way:
- For lower back pain in obese patients, an initial loading dose of 100,000 IU of vitamin D was given, followed by 4000 IU per day for 16 weeks. Note that these patients were deficient.
- People with knee osteoarthritis had relief from pain and had improved functional health and quality of life with 50,0000 IU vitamin D2 per week over a 6 month period.
- A compilation study of women with knee osteoarthritis found that those receiving MORE than 2000 IU of vitamin D3 per day achieved pain relief in over 1100 women.
- In people with non-specific musculoskeletal pain, high doses of vitamin D at baseline and at 6 weeks, resulted in pain reduction.
- For fibromyalgia, 50,000 IU vitamin D3 per week over 20 weeks resulted in pain reduction.
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The Controversy Of Vitamin D In The News And In Research
So we have the relationship, and we have the proof. And yet, why are we all still so skeptical? Is it because big pharmaceutical groups are a bit worried?
Are they churning out a doubt in the media? Are they working with governing agencies dictating nutrition policies? Ill leave that to you to decide.
The Effects Of Vitamin D Supplementation On Pain In Individuals With Knee Osteoarthritis Are Open To Interpretation And Warrant Further Investigation
In the December 2015 edition of The Clinical Journal of Pain , a team of researchers led by Dr. Toni L. Glover of the University of Florida, College of Nursing and investigators from the University of Alabama wrote about vitamin D, knee pain and problems associated with obesity in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
This study is part of a larger ongoing project at the University of Florida and the University of Alabama at Birmingham that aims to enhance the understanding of racial/ethnic differences in pain and limitations among individuals with osteoarthritic disease .
Here are the highlights of their study:
So what to make of this research?
Getting Your Daily Dose
During autumn and winter , the Department of Health recommends that everyone should consider a daily supplement containing 10mcg of vitamin D. Those at higher risk should consider a supplement throughout the year. A wide variety of supplements containing vitamin D are available from chemists and supermarkets.
Look for vitamin D3, which is the same form of the vitamin that the body makes from sunlight and is generally absorbed better than vitamin D2. Fish oil, such as cod liver oil, can be an appropriate alternative source of vitamin D and may have other benefits for arthritis, too.
Vitamin D Safety Considerations
The highly favorable safety profile of vitamin D is evidenced by its lack of significant adverse effects, even at relatively high doses, and the absence of harmful interactions with other drugs. While vitamin D is potentially toxic, reports of associated overdoses and deaths have been relatively rare.
Tolerance & Toxicity. Excessive intake and accumulation of vitamin D is sometimes referred to as hypervitaminosis D, however this is poorly defined. Because a primary role of vitamin D is facilitating absorption of calcium from the intestine, the main signs/symptoms of vitamin D toxicity result from excessive serum calcium, or hypercalcemia .
The rather diverse signs/symptoms of hypercalcemia in patients with pain may be difficult to attribute to vitamin D intoxication, since they might mimic those of opioid side effects, neuropathy, or other conditions. Paradoxically, some symptoms match those of hypocalcemia. In some cases, patients with serum 25D at toxic levels can be clinically asymptomatic.126
Since full exposure to sunlight can provide the vitamin D3 equivalent of up to 20,000 IU/day, the human body can obviously tolerate and safely manage relatively large daily doses. Toxicity has not been reported from repetitive daily exposure to sunlight.25
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Folic Acid And Bromelain
Other supplements may also help relieve joint pain and reduce your risk of complications from RA treatments.
If methotrexate is part of your RA treatment, you may need to take a folic acid supplement. Another name for folic acid is vitamin B9. MTX affects your bodys ability to absorb it. If you dont get enough vitamin B9, you may develop anemia or other health problems.
Your doctor may also encourage you to take bromelain. This compound is made from a group of enzymes derived from pineapple. According to the Arthritis Foundation, some evidence suggests it might have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Vitamin D Protects Bone Health
A chondroprotective compound prevents the progression of arthritis by reducing the symptoms.
A study published in the International Journal of Rheumatic diseases reported that in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, there is a lack of vitamin D which decreases the mineral bone density.
Also, patients with rheumatoid arthritis are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
In Annals of Internal Medicine, a study was published in which patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given calcium and vitamin D3 supplements with anti-inflammatory medicines.
It was reported that this combination is effective in preventing loss of bone mineral density in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
What does this mean? Vitamin D preserves bone and joint health by maintaining bone strength and mineral.
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A Healthy Dose Of Vitamin D
Everyone needs vitamin D. It helps your body absorb calcium. It also helps your bones grow properly and stay strong.
Getting enough vitamin D may be especially important for people with RA. Thats because some RA medications can raise your risk of vitamin D deficiencies. This can lead to complications.
Vitamin D Supplementation For Pain Management
A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology in 2017 suggested that vitamin D supplementation combined with good sleeping habits may help manage pain-related diseases such as arthritis, menstrual cramps, fibromyalgia, and chronic back pain.
Another study that appeared in the journal Pain suggested that Vitamin D3 supplementation may help patients living with chronic pain who have significant vitamin D deficiency. But it found that when high dose Vitamin D3 supplementation was given monthly to the healthy volunteers, it does not improve baseline pain or reduce the number of analgesic prescriptions.
A systematic review of published randomized controlled trials also concluded that vitamin D supplementation significantly decreased pain compared to placebo in patients with chronic pain. However, patients with sufficient vitamin D levels from the beginning do not benefit from treatment.
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Vitamin D Fact 5 Prevents Pregnancy Complications
This may be the most striking area for change in health because, in relative terms, pregnancy is only 9 months.
A research group out of the Medical University of South Carolina found that women achieving higher blood levels of vitamin D during pregnancy, often by taking higher doses of vitamin D, had huge reductions in pregnancy complications, including high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, infections, and preterm birth.
I have been privileged to get to know and work with a researcher from this project, Carole Baggerly. Their work is noble, but also has been an extremely challenging message to convey to the world because dogma is difficult to get past.
WebMD and respected pregnancy organizations are getting the message out there about the benefits of vitamin D.
Think of how many millions of lives this could help, and how many dollars it can save. I got a sneak peek at their newest research paper, and the new study has just as robust of pregnancy results.
Check out Grassroots Health website to learn more about the organization helping to reduce the burden of disease due to vitamin D deficiency.
How does this relate to joint pain? Pregnancy is a high-demand nutrient situation and amps up your bodys vitamin D requirements. If you are lacking vitamin D, you are more likely to suffer from pain.
Do You Have Questions Ask Dr Darrow About Your Knee Pain
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Doctors Say Vitamin D Helps Pain Syndromes
In the medical journal Rejuvenation research , doctors found an association with low levels of vitamin D and various osteoarthritis pain syndromes. Especially when the hand and hip are involved.
A November 2020 study included these findings to suggest: Some studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for poor musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoporosis, fracture, muscle weakness, falls, and osteoarthritis in adults.
A randomized control trial in the journal Pain suggested patients with fibromyalgia syndrome typically have widespread chronic pain and fatigue. For those with low vitamin D levels, vitamin D supplements may reduce pain and may be a cost-effective alternative or adjunct to other treatment. In 2020, these observations were expanded upon in a new study that premenopausal women with low 25D3 levels may more frequently experience FMS and pain than healthy individuals.
Researchers in the medical journal Clinical Rheumatology noted that the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among new patients attending rheumatology outpatient departments recorded that 70% of 231 patients had vitamin D deficiency, and 26% had severe deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency in each diagnostic category was as follows: inflammatory joint diseases/connective tissue diseases , 69% soft tissue rheumatism, 77% osteoarthritis, 62%
Upping Your Vitamin D Intake Has Been Shown To Help With Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for building strong bones. Too little of this vital nutrient can lead to having thin, soft and brittle bones, known as osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
Studies also have found that a lack of vitamin D is linked to rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease characterized by swollen, aching joints and numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, scientists found that vitamin D deficiency not only is highly prevalent in rheumatoid arthritis patients, but its also related to chronic pain and lower mental and physical quality of life scores. Another study revealed that a higher intake of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with better treatment results in patients with early rheumatoid arthritis.
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Limitations Of The Study
The number of patients was small. Due to natural selection of knee OA patients, the majority of our patients were female and overweight. We did not use magnetic resonance imaging, which could have provided us with more information about early knee OA. There could be many factors which could affect the perception of pain so we could not be sure that the pain scores were directly due to knee pain. A control group with knee OA that does not have knee pain could be more appropriate for a comparison. Also, due to the cross sectional design of the study, we did not follow up on the patients knee OA progressions and vitamin D levels.
Could Vitamin D Really Cure Your Arthritis
Just in case there were any doubts about the importance of vitamin D – the ‘sunshine’ vitamin – two major studies published last week confirmed just how essential it is for good health.
One study found that people with higher levels in their blood were more likely to survive cancer, the other that having very low levels increased your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Previous research has linked high levels with fighting off infection and helping with all sorts of chronic problems. But there is a catch: we make most of our vitamin D when our skin is exposed to fairly strong sunlight and we can get more from oily fish and a few foods like cereals that have been fortified with it.
But to obtain the benefits suggested by this new research you have to have a level in your blood that is four or five times higher than we in the UK can get from occasionally exposing our face and hands to the sun on the way to work or having the odd meal of oily fish.
Now a new and controversial book by an American doctor suggests that taking even higher levels of the vitamin – 10 to 15 times the recommended amounts – can work wonders.
Dr James Dowd, who works at the Arthritis Institute of Michigan, has been prescribing vitamin D to people suffering from chronic disorders such as arthritis, back pain and headaches and the result, he claims, is a huge improvement in their symptoms.
He devised the ‘Vitamin D Cure’ which he used on himself, and patients such as Barbara.
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What Does Your Diet Have To Do With Getting Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D doesnt occur naturally in many foods. Thats why certain foods have added vitamin D. In fact, newer food nutrition labels show the amount of vitamin D contained in a particular food item.
It may be difficult, especially for vegans or people who are lactose-intolerant, to get enough vitamin D from their diets, which is why some people may choose to take supplements. It is always important to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups. The vitamin content of various foods is shown in the following table.
Vitamin D content of various foods
|Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce||6|
It is important to check product labels, as the amount of added vitamin D varies when it is artificially added to products such as orange juice, yogurt and margarine.
Vitamin D3 Supplements And Sources
The easiest way to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D3 is to soak up some sun. Spend 10 to 30 minutes outside, ideally with a fair amount of skin showing . Just dont let yourself get a sunburnyou can have too much of a good thing, and sunburns have all kinds of negative consequences.
Getting vitamin D3 from sunlight sounds like a great idea unless you live somewhere with cold, dark winters. To make up for insufficient sunlight, you can sit in front of a light box that produces full-spectrum light, take supplements, or adjust your diet.
Some food sources that have vitamin D3 are beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, and fatty fish such as salmon, herring, catfish, tuna, mackerel, and sardines. Organ meat has higher concentrations of vitamin D than muscle meat. Cod liver oil is another good source if you can stomach the flavor! Beverages like milk and orange juice can be fortified with vitamins by manufacturers, and may contain either vitamin D3 or D2. Foods like cereal and tofu can also be fortified.
For further reading, please see these University Health News posts:
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