According to a new study, chronic pain may be associated with inadequate levels of vitamin D.
This study conducted at the Mayo Clinic found that patients who were prescribed narcotic pain medication, and who also had inadequate levels of vitamin D, required medication doses nearly twice as high as those who had adequate levels.
Moreover, it found a correlation between increasing body mass index – a measure of obesity – and decreasing levels of vitamin D.
"Vitamin D is known to promote both bone and muscle strength," says Dr. Michael Turner, lead author of the study and a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at the Mayo Clinic.
He adds that the deficiency is "an under-recognized source of diffuse pain and impaired neuromuscular functioning," and that by recognizing this fact, physicians can substantially improve their patients’ quality of life.
Recent research has also found that in addition to the benefits of strong muscles and bones, vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system, helping fight inflammation and certain types of cancer.