Joint pain is often known to bother many people across the globe and most of them do not respond to treatment even. That’s when you may start thinking if there is any other contributing factor to this joint pain? Could it be nutritional deficiency or some kind of imbalance with the absorption of vital nutrients?
Many scientific studies revolve around this doubt and some of them have found that there is a possible link between vitamin D deficiency and joint pain. Researchers have been working for years and now it is believed that that there is some association between very low levels of vitamin D and chronic pain, especially joint pain.
About Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the fat soluble vitamins and is produced by your body when your skin gets exposed to sunlight; hence it is popularly called the sunshine vitamin. It is mainly required by your body for strong bones and teeth. It can also help regulate your immune system and help to keep illnesses at bay.
Vitamin D helps in proper absorption of calcium, which is again an important mineral for skeletal and dental development. Vitamin D helps to maintain blood calcium levels and regulates calcium and phosphorus, which are responsible for your hard bones and teeth.
Scientific studies have shown that women having higher levels of vitamin D are less likely to develop arthritis than those having lowest level of vitamin D.
Vitamin D and Joint Pain
While the exact cause between the association of vitamin D and painful joint conditions is still being studied, it is evident that vitamin D deficiency does affect joint pain and other related conditions. Common conditions usually linked with vitamin D deficiency are muscle fatigue, bone and joint pain.
Another major concern is osteomalacia or softening of bones in adults and appears in the form of rickets in children. It also can also lead to brittle bones and weak muscles. Other complaints that can eventually spring up due to brittle and weak bones are fractures of the hip or other bones, bone pain and tenderness, tooth decay and in extreme conditions, hearing loss due to softening of the bones in the ear.
Researchers say that if there is pain on pressing your breastbone or sternum, which is in the middle of the chest connecting the ribs on both sides, there is a possibility of vitamin D deficiency. It is advisable to get a thorough evaluation done from your physician.
What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?
As vitamin D is formed in presence of sunlight, lack of sun exposure is one of the main reasons for its deficiency. Many people, due to various reasons like having headache due to sun exposure or fear of skin cancer, usually avoid going out in the sun.
Another major factor is in case of those taking long term corticosteroids, generally prescribed for arthritis and some other ailments. In such cases, it is essential that you get yourself evaluated regularly for your vitamin D levels and take necessary action.
How To Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency?
Vitamin D deficiency can be prevented by exposing yourself to natural sunlight; 15 minutes in the early part of the day after sunrise should be good enough. Another way is consuming a diet rich in vitamin D and taking a supplement.
Diet- Vitamin D, being fat soluble vitamin, is found in animal products like milk, cheese, butter and some fish. Foods fortified with vitamin D are also available like dairy products, breads and cereals. Read the labels to check for such products.
Supplementation- A vitamin D supplement may be required for some, depending on your existing levels of vitamin D, your level of sun exposure and present joint conditions. Vitamin D is known to build up toxic levels if taken inappropriately. So these supplements should be taken on medical advice and your levels should be regularly monitored to make the necessary revisions.
It is a good idea to follow the advice of your physician and dietician as individual requirements vary and many other parameters need to be considered while planning a vitamin D rich diet or deciding the appropriate dosage and duration of supplementation.
As vitamin D is important for bone, cartilage and muscle function, it is essential for maintaining bone and joint health. Vitamin D is an important nutrient for musculoskeletal development and its efficient functioning. It is believed that low levels of vitamin D, when treated appropriately, can provide pain relief in patients with joint pain. Optimum levels of vitamin D offer benefits like greater bone mineral density, reduced rates of osteoporotic fractures and reduced joint pain.