Or is something else going on?
Best known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’! Most of us know Vitamin D for its ability to help the body absorb calcium, which restores and strengthens bones.
There may also be a connection between Vitamin D and cognitive and memory function although there need to be more studies undertaken on this to show a significant link.
Most of us here in the UK, have low vitamin D levels especially through the winter months. According to the National Institute for Healthcare and Excellence one in five adults in the UK have a low vitamin D level.
Vitamin D is key to good health, especially when you are living with fibromyalgia and something you need to make sure you are on top of. Why? Because the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency and fibromyalgia overlap!
I underestimated the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, but I can tell you they knocked me sideways! I thought I was having a severe fibro flare, or my thyroid medication was not effective anymore.
What are the symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Possible cognitive impairment and memory issues in adults but this still has to be proven with more studies. (I did feel a decline in my memory when I had a severe Vit D deficiency)
- Poor quality of sleep & lack of sleep – like we need any help with this!
- Low Mood or Depression – SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is believed to be connected to a Vitamin D deficiency.
- Bone pain and muscle weakness – very much the same pain as you have during a flare.
- Weight gain- although vitamin D doesn’t help with weight loss, it can cause you to gain weight (another reason why I thought it may be my thyroid medication because I did gain weight but hadn’t changed my exercise or diet).
- Gut problems – gastrointestinal problems can be caused by a deficiency of vitamin D but a gastrointestinal problem can cause a vitamin D deficiency. People living with IBS (again another common symptom of fibromyalgia…I’m beginning to think everything is), are shown to have low levels of Vitamin D and that there is improvement in the condition after increasing their intake of Vitamin D.
- Feeling Constantly Exhausted – There was a definite drop in my energy levels…it was below ground floor level! A feeling of malaise combined with exhaustion is common in people with a Vitamin D deficiency. By increasing vitamin D this can be improved.
So, you can see it’s very difficult to actually know you are experiencing a Vitamin D deficiency rather than a fibro flare, or that a vitamin D deficiency is impacting significantly on a flare.
If you are experiencing stronger symptoms than you usually do with fibromyalgia, it’s worth going to see your doctor and asking for a blood test, which is the only way to check if you do have a vitamin D deficiency.
I was hoping for a ticket to the sun (sun being the best way to absorb vit d), but was given some very high dose vitamin D supplements that cannot be bought over the counter. My level had dropped so low that normal supplements would not have made any difference. When you live with a chronic illness it’s easy to put every health issue down to that condition. Please don’t wait as long as I did, struggling through what I thought was another severe fibro flare.
Have a wonderful day xx