Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Low levels of vitamin D 'linked to chronic pain in women'

London (PTI): Women suffering from chronic pain may benefit from an extra daily dose of vitamin D, a new study has suggested.

Researchers in Britain have carried out the study and found that chronic widespread pain is linked to low levels of the vitamin D in women, but not in men, the latest edition of the 'Annals of Rheumatic Diseases' journal reported.

However, according to the researchers, as deficiency of vitamin D only affects women, hormones may have some role to play in the chronic pain.

Vitamin D also known as sunshine vitamin, essential in the development of healthy bones, is produced in the body when exposed to sunlight and is also found in oily fish, egg yolks and margarine.

Lead researcher Dr Elina Hyppnen of the Institute of Child Health in London said their study indicated that in women, vitamin D levels could play a role in some cases of chronic pain.

The researchers came to the conclusion after analysing a test of 7,000 men and women, all aged around 45 from across England, Scotland and Wales.

Irrespective of whether they were smokers, drinkers, overweight or underweight -- all women reported higher rates of chronic pain due to vitamin D deficiency. However, the same was not true in case of the male participants.

While women with vitamin D levels between 75 and 99 mmol/litre -- a level deemed necessary for bone health -- had the lowest rates of this type of pain, at just over 8 per cent, those with levels of less than 25 mmol/litre had the highest rates, at 14.4 per cent, the study found.

Though follow-up studies are needed to confirm the findings, Dr Hyppnen was quoted by the 'BBC News' portal as saying, "If I had chronic pain I would certainly check I was getting enough vitamin D."

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