Vitamin D is perhaps best known for its role in bone formation, and vitamin D deficiency is an established cause of rickets (soft, deformed bones in children), as well as a potential underlying factor in osteoporosis. In recent years, the role of vitamin D in muscle function has come to the fore. Two potential features of vitamin D deficiency are muscle pain and fatigue. Not so long ago, I wrote here about how my vitamin D-deficient mother seemed to be profoundly helped through supplementation with vitamin D.
I noticed this report today of a study concerning the potential role of vitamin D in muscle function. In this study, muscle function was assessed in a group of 12 individuals with known vitamin D deficiency. The assessment centred around timing the replenishment in the muscle of a substance known as phosphocreatine. Phosphocreatine is a key molecule in the production of energy (in the form of what is known as ATP) by tiny ‘powerhouses’ in the cells of our body known as mitochondria (pronounced my-toe-con-dree-ah). Shorter phosphocreatine replenishment times after activity are a sign of better mitochondrial function.
Vitamin D supplementation was found to lead to a significant reduction in phosphocreatine replenishment times, signalling an improvement in mitochondrial functioning. Fatigue ratings improved in all the study participants too.
This study is the first to show direct link between vitamin D status and this measure of muscle functioning, as well as an improvement in this functioning through supplementation with vitamin D.
The benefits of optimising vitamin D levels likely go way beyond the impact of this nutrient on muscles and bones. Research links higher levels of vitamin D with protection from a wide range of health issues including depression, cancer, heart disease and ‘auto-immune’ conditions including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. See here for a guide to vitamin D dosing.
I have passed this along to my sisters-in-law. Both started taking D at my suggestion and both reported feeling much better.
Muscle pain and fatigue are two widely-reported side effects of statins, which prevent adequate production in the body of cholesterol, from which vitamin D is synthesized….
Vitamin D supplementation certainly helped me to feel stronger, to be better able to climb stairs, and made rising from a low chair much less of a battle.
Could lack of vitamin D be a cause of fibromyalgia?
I was in intense pain in my back and most joints hurt but so did the muscles and they felt lumpy. Then I sort of lost the function of getting up from sitting or raising my legs or moving them sidewards if lying down. More than a year later with hardly nothing being done I started vit D and got lectured by the professionals but when a test was done my vit D was low it was then panic stations. My symptoms improved after a period of high level prescribed supplements. At that time my CK level was up from normal and was seen as a puzzle. My suger/BP all improved once vit D level was in the so called normal level. I am back to having fatigue and some joint pain again and also muscle pain. My GP rang as last bloods showed most things ok but once gain raised CK level – he asked if I had a diagnosed muscle problem [bit sad as he is my GP]. I have also mega spinal issues so most of my aches get put down to that. Think maybe I need to request vit D check again as maybe even with s=taking calcD my levels have dropped again.
I just wrote a blog article about vitamin D and am amazed at how many are deficient in this sunshine vitamin. According to a StatsCan report at least 2/3 of Canadians are vitamin D deficient. Another report indicates 3/4 of Americans are deficient.
I’m sure this leads to a ton of health complications!