Vitamin D supplementation for pain management: Does it really help?

Vitamin D, which our skin produces as a response to sun exposure, has multiple roles…

Vitamin D supplementation for pain management: Does it really help?

Vitamin D, which our skin produces as a response to sun exposure, has multiple roles in the body. It is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. The sunshine vitamin is critical for immune function, and it helps regulate insulin levels and support diabetes management. It supports lung function, brain, and nervous system health, and more. Also Read – Beware: Vitamin D deficiency can make you obese and lead to stunted growth

Emerging evidence also supports the role of Vitamin D supplements in pain management. Also Read – Get some sunshine and eat vitamin D-rich foods to reduce risk of COVID-19 death

Several observational studies have shown that patients with different forms of chronic pain have low vitamin D levels in the circulation. Also Read – Link between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 gets stronger

According to some researchers, adults older than 50 with a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop pain in their hip and knee joints. The pain may get worse if the deficiency isn’t treated, they said.

One study found that most people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its joints, had low vitamin D levels. Studies have also linked vitamin D deficiency with a higher risk of pain. Can vitamin D supplements help decrease pain?

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.

Diseases related to vitamin D deficiency

You can get vitamin D from sun exposure, foods that contain vitamin D (fatty fish, egg yolks, mushrooms, fish liver oils, fortified foods), and supplements. Still, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle weakness, bone loss and increase risk of fractures. In children, lack of this nutrient can cause delays in growth as well as rickets, a disease where the bones become soft. In addition, vitamin D deficiency is also linked with several cancers, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure and thyroid problems.

How much vitamin D a person needs depends on many factors including age, race, latitude, season, sun exposure, clothing, and more.

The US Institute of Medicine recommends an average daily intake of 400–800 IU, or 10–20 micrograms, which it says is adequate for 97.5% of individuals. However, some studies suggest that a higher daily intake of 1000–4000 IU (25–100 micrograms) is needed to maintain optimal blood levels.


People with chronic pain often have low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplementation may reduce pain in some people who have a significant vitamin D deficiency. However, people with healthy levels of vitamin D may not benefit from taking these supplements for chronic pain.

Published : September 16, 2020 1:45 pm | Updated:September 17, 2020 10:10 am