It is now known through scientific studies there is a correlation between low levels of vitamin D in the body and pain.Â The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that chronic pain is the leading cause of disability in the United States.Â And they also show through research that a significant amount of pain patients lack Vitamin D in their diet.Â This research also concludes on the average, pain patients with low Vitamin D levels use twice as much â€œon averageâ€ pain medications (morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone) than those that supplement their diet.Â And those also low in Vitamin D also have higher measures of body fat which place them in the obesity category.
Where does this vitamin come from?Â It comes from sun exposure and a few natural occurring foods you consume: Â E.g., tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, mushrooms.Â Small amounts can be found in beef liver and egg yolk.Â Of course, there is fortified vitamin D in the American diet, i.e., milk, cheese, ice cream, breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, etc.Â Apparently, it is very difficult for many to get â€œenoughâ€ Vitamin D nutrient in the daily diet, unless you get adequate (1hour) sun exposure daily.Â Of course, natural exposure to the sunâ€™s benefits is dependent upon season, weather conditions, geography and not always considered healthy for those that receive too much exposure.
Vitamin D is essential to propagate calcium absorption for healthy bones and bone growth.Â And low levels of this Vitamin for too long can result in bone surface softening (osteomalacia), where this condition causes pain.Â And the area of the body that seems to suffer greatest for lack of this nutrient and most prone to pain is the lower back.Â For those that suffer from fibromyalgia, bone and joint pain, phenomenal pain relief can be experienced through vitamin D supplementation.
Researchers state a daily 1000IU/day to grow healthy strong bones for children and adults that suffer from chronic pain could experience significant pain relief at a 2000IU/day regiment.Â Also the health risk with â€œDâ€ supplementation has a highly favorable safety profile when used simultaneously with prescription drugs.Â This supplementation simply doesnâ€™t interact with many types of drugs unless one uses extremely high doses of Vitamin D (e.g., 50,000IU and over).Â Since vitamin D also promotes a healthy nervous system, those that suffer with radiating neuropathic pain can also experience better pain alleviation, movement function and greater quality of life experiences.
If you are self paying for your pain prescriptions, also keep this in mind.Â A daily 2000IU/day for Vitamin D can cost as little as $.07-.10/day.Â This could be your safe, cost effective ticket to alleviating chronic pain in a way where other prescriptions have failed and without breaking the bank.Â Although there is no guarantee this will be a complete substitute for your pain relief program, it is likely it would help alleviate your pain and do no harm.Â However, it is always prudent to ask your physician about vitamin D supplementation for pain relief.Â I will tell you that physiatrists (pain specialists) will advise you to supplement with 2000IU/day for chronic pain alleviation.Â If your lab results show lower than 50-70 nonograms/milliliter; a vitamin D supplement for natural pain relief will most likely help you relieve pain.
Since there are so many natural chronic pain relief supplements to choose from, listed below are the top candidates for further research and dietary pain supplement consideration.
Anti-Inflammatory plants and herbs â€“ If youâ€™re not big on NSAID medicines because of the possible long-term side effects (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen and Celebrex)â€¦ Try turmeric, green tea, ginger, rosemary, catâ€™s & devil claw, and willow bark.Â The apparent winner of all the natural anti-inflammatory Iâ€™ve listed appears to be the turmeric.Â Significant pain relief for those that suffer from osteoarthritis and back pain (Leopold & Edwards, T., M.D.).Â Turmeric can be purchased as a capsule supplement.Â Patients using blood thinners should first check with their physicians if a turmeric pain supplement would be right for them.
Magnesium â€“ This is a tough supplement to get in daily quantities because most of us donâ€™t eat enough of the following foods:Â Soy products, peas, beans, whole grains, bananas, dried apricots and avocados, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, etc.Â It appears magnesium supplementation can help those that suffer with fibromyalgia and migraines.Â What depletes magnesium levels in the body? Alcohol.Â Chronic pain patients may well benefit with this additive in their diet.
Fish Oil â€“ Not only does omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties to relieve chronic pain, it can also help with many other conditions, i.e., depression, asthma, cardiovascular problems, autoimmune (rheumatoid arthritis), back pain, some nerve pain and headaches (Rakel, David P., MD, founder and director of the University of Wisconsinâ€™s Integrative Medicine in Madison).Â The effects of fish oil can be boosted by combining with other natural supplementation from this list.Â However, Dr. Rakel advises you consult with your doctor.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) â€“ There appears to be scientific controversy over migraine pain relief with Vitamin B2 use.Â Dr. Rakel thinks itâ€™s safe to try for a period of 8 weeks considering its safety rating.Â However, consult your treating physician for frequency, dose and duration of use.
Glucosamine sulfate â€“ The best data on joint pain alleviation comes from glucosamine supplementation.Â The data is very good on osteoarthritis pain alleviation in the knee and slowing the progression of the disease.Â And supplementation with chondroitin combined could provide additional benefits.
Bromelain â€“ This is an enzyme that is derived from the pineapple plant.Â These enzymes appear to reduce inflammation and pain associated with osteoarthritis.Â There appears to be a mystery on how this enzyme gets absorbed through the stomach lining.Â The mystery is the stomach acid should neutralize the benefits of this enzyme.Â More research is needed to understand how the delivery system transports the benefits of this enzyme through the digestive system.
Capsaicin â€“ Topical capsaicin is derived from chili peppers.Â The soothing effects when applied to skin for all types of pain relief include:Â Rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, shingles, osteoarthritis, diabetic neuropathy.Â And like many of the other natural pain relievers, may offer relief for fibromyalgia and headache pain.
Alpha-lipoic acid â€“ Like acetyl-L-carnitine (a nutrient that seems to ease and regenerate damaged nerves and restore sensitivity over time due to nerve pain from diabetes). Â Alpha-lipoic acid appears to help for those that suffer with diabetic neuropathy.Â Not only do scientific studies show pain reduction, but also the slowing of the neuropathic condition.Â This in fact could protect the nerves from further damage.Â Another benefit for people with diabetes is that Alpha-lipoic acid may enhance insulin sensitivity and help those that suffer nerve damage from cancer treatment.
MNT Medical News Today, Vitamin D a Surprising Champion of Back Pain Relief, 25 June 2008,Â http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/112633.php
R. Morgan Griffen, WebbMD, Natural Pain Relief: Chronic Pain Supplements,Â http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/chronic-pain-relief?page=1
Anderson, Bryan, Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic Researchers Link Vitamin D and Chronic Pain Relief, March 20, 2009,Â http://newsblog.mayoclinic.org/2009/03/20/mayo-clinic-researchers-link-vitamin-d-and-chronic-pain-relief/
Evert, Alison, MedlinePluse, Magnesium in diet. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002423.htm
Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2011 Copyright, All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.org,Â Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.