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Is Serum Hypovitaminosis D Associated with Chronic Widespread Pain Including Fibromyalgia? A Meta-analysis of Observational Studies


Tags: etiology, vitamin D, chronic pain, pro, nutrition, self-treatment, treatment, pain problems

One article on PainSci cites Hsiao 2015: Vitamin D for Pain

PainSci summary of Hsiao 2015: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible.

This is a review of a dozen studies of the link between vitamin D and chronic widespread pain. They identified a “crude association” between them which was “likely to remain after adjusting confounding factors.”

(One of the best such studies, McCabe et al published a year after this review, failed to find a clear independent link: it weakened after the elimination of obese and depressed subjects, which are known risk factors for chronic pain.)

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Chronic widespread pain (CWP) is a global musculoskeletal disorder leading to disability and a reduced quality of life. Low levels of serum vitamin D has long been proposed to be associated with CWP, but previous research remains inconclusive.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether hypovitaminosis D was independently associated with CWP.

STUDY DESIGN: Meta-analysis of observational study.

METHODS: Electronic databases were searched for studies published up to November 2014 comparing the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D and serum vitamin D levels between participants with and without CWP. The crude and adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of hypovitaminosis D with CWP were calculated. Subgroup analysis according to gender, threshold of hypovitaminosis, and definition of patients was performed, as well as meta-regression to test the linear relationship between crude ORs and the latitude of study locations.

RESULTS: Twelve studies were included, comprising 1,854 patients with CWP. The patient group showed a significantly higher risk of hypovitaminosis D than the control group (crude OR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.20-2.23). The association was slightly attenuated after adjusting confounders, with a pooled adjusted OR of 1.41 (95% CI, 1.00-2.00). There was an increase in ORs of hypovitaminosis D using a lower diagnostic value of serum vitamin D (8 and 10 ng/mL). The subgroup analysis according to gender and definition of CWP did not reveal significant between-group differences. The meta-regression showed no linear relationship between latitude and the crude ORs.

CONCLUSIONS: There was a positive crude association between hypovitaminosis D and CWP, and the association was likely to remain after adjusting confounding factors. Use of a cut-off value of hypovitaminosis D (8-10 ng/mL) could better define the population with and without CWP. Further prospective follow-up studies are warranted to clarify the causal relationship between hypovitaminosis D and CWP.

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