Pain Blamed on Vitamin D Deficiency

Sep 10, 2004 09:52 AM EDT

A new US study has found a link between musculoskeletal pain and vitamin D deficiency.

The study, published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, examined 150 children and adults with nonspecific musculoskeletal pain for their levels of vitamin D. Among the participants, all African-American, East African, Hispanic and Native American patients had vitamin D deficiencies, as did all patients younger than 30. Five patients actually had no vitamin D in their bodies at all.

Vitamin deficiency prevalent in all ages

Researchers stress that it is a misconception to believe vitamin D deficiency is only prevalent in older people. They found the worst vitamin D deficiency in young people—especially women of childbearing age.

The risks involved with vitamin D deficiency include adverse fetal effects or neonatal illnesses, young adults not developing optimal bone mass and older adults experiencing fractures attributed to osteoporosis.

Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with significant risks for osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

The scientists recommend further investigation to determine relief and management of musculoskeletal pain with prescriptions of vitamin D, suggesting that screening all outpatients with such pain for a deficiency of vitamin D should be standard practice in clinical care.


1. G.A., Plotnikoff, Quigley, J.M., “Prevalence of Severe Hypovitaminosis D in Patients with Persistent, Nonspecific Musculoskeletal Pain,” Mayo Clinic Proceedings, December 2003, Volume 78, Number 12.