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Shereen Jegtvig, MS

Vitamin D for Pain Relief

By June 20, 2008

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According to researchers, taking additional vitamin D every day may help to reduce or eliminate chronic pain due to arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, headaches and other types of pain.

The researchers determined that more than half of the people in the United States, and the rest of the world, are deficient in vitamin D. They also believe the currently recommended daily adequate intake of vitamin D - up to 600 IU per day - is outdated and too low. According to the study, most children and adults need at least 1000 IU per day, and persons with chronic musculoskeletal pain would benefit from 2000 IU or more per day of supplemental vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol).

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts like a hormone in your body to help you absorb calcium. Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, although you can also get a little vitamin D from fish and fortified foods like milk and breakfast cereal. Vitamin D supplements are generally safe to take, just be sure you follow the dosage instructions on the label unless you speak with your healthcare provider first.

June 27, 2008 at 5:17 pm
(1) Ryan W. says:

I found a blog post that makes an interesting argument that some of the studies showing lower Vit. D linked to increased mortality in osteoporosis and autoimmune disease are showing an effect of infection and Vit. D receptor disregulation rather than simple deficiency.

You won’t find any actual research that shows vitamin D + calcium increases bone density above calcium alone, though some people
still assert that conclusion. Vitamin D raises blood levels of calcium, yes. But not bone density.

Many people with low 25D have high 1,25D which is a product of 25D
That argues against deficiency in some cases. And in favor of infection + occasionally dysregulation of the Vitamin D Receptor resulting in overproduction of
1,25D from 25D (which leads to low levels of 25D, which appears like deficiency)


They say high levels of 25D deactivates the Vitamin D receptor based on molecular modeling, though. That part I question. How much D3 supplementation does it take to maximize cathelidicin production?
I cannot find a direct answer to that question, and it should be simple.

Similarly Vit. D3 isn’t the only thing that we get from sunlight.


1) Helps break down bilirubin, a somewhat toxic breakdown product of hemoglobin.
2) Helps (not just through the eyes, but through the skin) keep your 24-hour rhythms in sync – so you’re tired at night, not during the day.
3) Helps avoid seasonal depression.

July 27, 2008 at 5:57 pm
(2) Rich B says:

Ryan, the website you saw revolves around the work of Trevor Marshall, a biochemist from Australia. I want to put it in perspective. Dr. Marshall is the lone opponent to the massive wave of sentiment among doctors, researchers, nutritionists, and longevity specialists regarding the protective effect of Vitamin D. Does it sometimes happen that a lone dissenting voice is right and the rest of the world is wrong? Sure, it happens on occasion but it is far more likely that the thousands of researchers are correct in their methodology and assumptions and that Dr. Marshall is wrong. Unfortunately, there is no middle ground. Either we all need serum vitamin D level around 50 nanograms per milliliter (as the majority of researchers conclude based on decades of testing and observation) or it should be around 5 as Dr. Marshall asserts. You are certainly free to believe what you wish but understand in following Dr. Marshall’s recommendations you are going up against heavy hitters from dozens of major universities around the world. The research is abindantly clear, that a low blood level of vitamin D greatly increases the risk of contracting practically every killer disease known to man. Based on hundreds of research studies, low D more than doubles the chance of getting 17 kinds of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, MS, arthritis, and many other chronic diseases. Maybe you feel the jury has not yet returned a verdict, but my research tells me otherwise. Accordingly, I have been supplementing with 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily for about a year and my immune system is clearly working very well because I never get sick even when everyone around me is ill.

August 30, 2008 at 3:43 am
(3) Ryan W. says:

Rich B – I haven’t completely weighed all parts of the Marshall protocol and I question some of its applications to healthy people. But in other areas, the claims describe existing data far better than conventional wisdom. I have a biotech degree and I’ve spent a few months going over this stuff pretty intensively in my free time.

I’m not worried about “going up against heavy hitters.” It was those same heavy hitters who, for instance, recommended aspirin to prevent heart attacks. Now it turns out that long term use of salicylates promotes arterial calcification leading to heart attacks, as does warfarin, as does Vitamin D supplementation. Three things used to forms of heart disease turned out to exacerbate it.

The fact that the ‘heavy hitters’ have gotten calcium metabolism so horribly wrong in respect to the vitamin D receptor is not encouraging. Lets take heart disease from your list since that’s where I can make the strongest case.

Vitamin D supplementation increases arterial calcification in those susceptible to it (those with insufficient vitamin K in their diet.)

In other words, d3 supplementation would increase the risk of heart attacks.

This is because calcitriol simply increases blood levels of calcium, which leads to soft tissue calcification unless there’s Vitamin K to put the calcium into bones. So why are you claiming that the evidence suggests the reverse?

Because people with lower levels of 25D have more arterial calcification, and this is interpreted as ‘deficiency.’
The reason that this model is not accurate in most cases is that some people with lower calcidiol (25D) will have higher levels of calcitriol (1,25D) because calcitriol is made from calcidiol. Calcitriol is the hormone that activates the Vitamin D receptor. 25D is converted to 1,25D in greater amounts in the case of inflammation (upregulation of cyp27b1 via TLR-4). So if you have someone with low 25 D that COULD be someone whose body doesn’t make enough 25D OR it could be someone who has an infection and is producing huge amounts of 1,25D, lowering the levels of 25D.

Additionally, why do statin drugs which lower cholesterol help with osteoporosis? Vitamin D is made in the body from cholesterol (with a few steps in between.) The benefits of statins make sense if osteoporosis is caused by osteoclasts stimulated by high levels of calcitriol to remove too much calcium from the bones and calcitriol does have this effect.
And again, NO study has shown that vitamin D + calcium supplementation helps with osteoporosis in otherwise healthy individuals compared to calcium alone. I’ve spent a few days searching through pubmed because I didn’t believe this at first.

There are a few possible exceptions to this scenario, such as individuals where both 25D and 1,25D are low. Diabetes is often associated with such a state. Cases of liver or kidney damage are another. But otherwise, most of the problems with low 25D (calcidiol) are best explained by rapid conversion to 1,25D (calcitriol).

I don’t expect you to believe me, but could I at least suggest looking into menaquinone supplements (Vitamin K2 from natto)? This supplementation would prevent the arterial calcification which is sometimes a result of high dose, long term vitamin D supplementation.

January 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm
(4) ed says:

marshall is a quack…his foundation is his wife, a home health care nurse for wisconsin and a woman with a bs degree from texas..

not an overpowering array of science..

April 18, 2009 at 9:03 pm
(5) DaveD says:

Trevor Marshall is not a biochemist. He is an electrical engineer.

In my own case of severe osteoporosis I have had frequent testing of D 25 and D,1 25 dihydroxy and alkaline phosphatase and n-telopeptide/creatinine ratio, two markers of bone turnover. Marshall states that D,1 25 dihyroxy levels above about 40ng/ml will speed up bone loss. My lowest rate of bone loss has been when my D,1 25 dihyroxy has been very high, around 80ng/ml. Bone loss increases when the D,1 25 decreases. I do, however, have low D 25 with the high D,1 25.

My doctor hasn’t figured out what is going on, but neither has the electrical engineer, according to what is published on his advocacy web sites.

January 27, 2010 at 4:14 pm
(6) Ben says:

I found that vitamin D helped relieve painful symptoms that had my Doctors puzzled. It turns out, I was vitamin D deficient. If you are experiencing unexplained pain or you get some diagnosis that is really just a description of symptoms (like fibromyalgia) rather than an actual cause of the pain, you owe it to yourself to try this. I found that 2,000IU had a noticeable effect after just two weeks. Then my Dr. tested me, found me deficient, and treated me with a 50,000IU/week Rx. The upper limit is 2,000IU, so you’re supposed to get tested before exceeding this to avoid the risk of toxicity.

January 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm
(7) Ron says:

Marshall’s method, while intriguing, is laden with methodologic flaws. He has loyal proponents on his AutoImmune Foundation blog that welcome you with open arms if you agree with their ‘leader,’ but treat you as a leper if you don’t. Sounds alot like a cult doesn’t it? But from a substantive viewpoint, it must be remember that Marshall has not conducted, nor is qualified to have conducted any reputable clinical trials; yet amazingly, there are thousands of people following his protocol which consists of large dosing with the blood pressure med benicar, supposed to compete with bacteria parasatizing the vitamin D receptor. Only problem is, Marshall arrived at his benicar hypothesis by looking at computerized programs which show cell/drug interactivity—and not from clinical trials. How, then, does a fellow who is an electrical engineer, get away with recommending an unproven drug treatment? One other problem; his interpretation of vitamin D levels is completely bogus. If the ‘levels’ are what he thinks they should be, he affirms his theory; if the levels are not, then it’s the lab’s fault, or the test is off. Sounds like cuve fitting to me. So, I would avoid MP and consider looking into the work of McPherson Brown and the Road Back Foundation.

January 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm
(8) jorge says:

I have taken vitamin D for years for pain which I thought was arthritis. it worked best when I stopped taking it I feel much better now. And by the way its not a vitamin……..

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