The Relationship Between Diabetes, Vitamin D, & Pain

vitamin dA research presentation at the University of Chicago has indicated that vitamin D may have an effect on pain and depression in patients with type-2 diabetes.  The study indicates a relationship between pain and vitamin D supplementation.  Those with low vitamin D levels, who then received vitamin D, then had less pain complaints.  The study just shows that these problems of diabetes with pain and vitamin D have some connection.

Secondary Problems

As with many medical problems, many secondary problems can occur with diabetes.  Diabetes causes problems with multiple body systems, including the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and the nerves among many organs it damages.  It is no surprise that diabetes can affect vitamin D levels.  Whether treating diabetes more successfully and comprehensively is the answer or vitamin D has a correlation to pain levels is not known.  The study just notes that there is some sort of relationship.

Diabetes can cause multiple health problems.  Controlling diabetes is the most important way to prevent complications.  Pain is often a complication of the disease due to damage to the vascular system and nervous system.  Vitamin D may turn out to be an important aspect of controlling aspects of diabetes. However, it is unlikely it will be a solution to pain in diabetes.  The first and most important aspect in reducing pain in diabetes is to keep control of the blood sugars.  Most pain in diabetes is related to nerve damage, and neuropathic medications like Neurontin, Lyrica, and Cymbalta are some of the best at reducing pain symptoms.

More Research Needed

New research in pain control in any disease is welcome.  The most important thing in any medical study is understanding what the researchers have found.  In this study, researchers found that patients with diabetes type 2 and depression often have vitamin D deficiency.  The relationship between all these variables at this point is interesting but needs further study before any definite conclusions can be drawn.

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Thomas Cohn, MD

Interventional pain doctor helping Minnesotans manage back, neck, foot, and other pain. Board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with additional board-certification in pain management from the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians (ABIPP) and the American Board of Pain Medicine (ABPM).