As the winter approaches, aches and pains increase as vitamin D levels, already too low in most people, begin to plummet. Bringing vitamin D levels up can often alleviate or eliminate the pain.
For instance, Dr. Stewart Leavitt recently posted the results of a review of 22 scientific studies on the relationship of vitamin D deficiency to chronic pain. (http://Pain-Topics.org/VitaminD). This 2008 analysis is just the latest of many studies on vitamin D and pain, most of which have been ignored by the physicians that treat the disorder. In total, there were 3,670 patients with chronic pain, and 48% of them showed significant vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplementation was very helpful in alleviating the pain. Dr. Leavitt states: “When supplementation was provided for improving vitamin D status, pain and/or muscle weakness were resolved or at least subsided in most cases, and there were associated improvements in physical functioning.”
This has actually been known for about 25 years, but because it sells no drugs, it has been virtually ignored. Vitamin D sufficient to keep optimal levels in the blood can be purchased at Bio-Tech Pharmacal for about $10.00 per year, and sunlight—the most natural way to increase vitamin D, is free. Unfortunately, sunlight produces vitamin D only during the late spring through early fall in high latitudes.
The Powers of Darkness (the pharmaceutical/medical complex that has succeeded in frightening most people out of the sunlight) have created a shocking and widespread vitamin D deficiency that is manifesting itself in increased rates of cancer, heart disease, autism, diabetes and myriad other maladies, not the least of which is chronic pain.
Other research has shown similarly impressive results. In one interesting study, conducted on chronic pain patients in Minneapolis, Minnesota (45 degrees north latitude), it was found that 100% of African Americans, American Indians, East Africans and Hispanics were vitamin D deficient, as were most Caucasians. In summer sunlight, dark-skinned people take up to 6 times as long to produce the same amount of vitamin D as light skinned people, making dark skinned people much more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Indoor lifestyles and the advice to slather with sunscreen, which can reduce vitamin D production during sunlight exposure by 99.5% puts dark-skinned people at a considerable vitamin D deficiency disadvantage. In addition, during the winter at high latitudes in areas such as Minneapolis, there are several months where little or no vitamin D is produced by the skin due to the sun’s position in the southern sky; the UVB portion of sunlight that stimulates vitamin D production is filtered out by the atmosphere during those months. This is known as “vitamin D winter” and is especially important in the northern US, northern Europe and all of Canada. It is absolutely essential for dark-skinned adults to take vitamin D supplementation of 4,000 to 5,000 IU per day year around or regularly use a tanning bed to stave off pain and to reduce the excessive risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes, etc., that plague them. It is also critical for most Caucasians during winter.
Another impressive result comes from a clinical observation of five vitamin D-deficient patients who suffered from myopathy, a disease of bone and muscle tissue. They were confined to wheelchairs and experienced severe fatigue, weakness, and chronic pain. After receiving 50,000 IU per week of vitamin D, all regained enough strength and energy within four to six weeks to be mobile and functional, and their aches and pains disappeared. Other research reported that five chronic-pain patients at John Hopkins University Medical School were treated with vitamin D, and their pain resolved within a week!
Vitamin D is a potent anti-inflammatory and also helps to strengthen bone, joint and muscle tissue. Be sure to maintain optimal levels (50 ng/ml or 125 nmol/L) in order to avoid the aches and pains of winter.
 Plotnikoff G. et al. Prevalence of severe hypovitaminosis D in patients with persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain. Mayo Clin Proc. 2003;78:1463-70.
 Matsuoka, L. et al. sunscreens suppress cutaneous vitamin D3 synthesis. J Clin Endocrinology & Metab 1987; 64:1165-68.
 Prabhala, A. et al. Severe myopathy associated with vitamin D deficiency in western New York. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1199-1203.
 Gloth, F. et al. Can vitamin D deficiency produce an unusual pain syndrome? Arch Intern Med 1991;152:1662-4.