Vitamin D deficiency in women with fibromyalgia in Saudi Arabia

Pain Med. 2012 Mar;13(3):452-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01304.x. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Background: The relation between low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D and nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, including fibromyalgia syndrome, is debatable. Many studies have reported "a positive relation" and others "found no relation."

Objectives: To determine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients with fibromyalgia in a neurology clinic in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Methods: This study was done at a neurology clinic of Bugshan Hospital, Jeddah, KSA, from January to April 2011. Thirty female patients were diagnosed with fibromyalgia according to new clinical fibromyalgia diagnostic criteria; their serum vitamin D levels were screened. Vitamin D deficiency is defined as <20 ng/mL, vitamin D insufficiency is defined as 21-29 ng/mL, and vitamin D sufficiency is equal to or >30 ng/mL.

Result: Thirty female patients were included in the study. The mean age was 34.56 ± 8.1 years. Mean vitamin D level was 4.76 ± 1.46 ng/mL. A significant negative correlation between vitamin D level and widespread pain index was found. Thirty percent of the patients were Saudi Arabian of whom 100% were veiled; 70% were non-Saudi Arabian of whom 47.6% were veiled and 52.4% wore long pants and/or full sleeved clothes. Vitamin D deficiency was equally prevalent among veiled (4.77 ± 1.37 ng/mL) and nonveiled (4.75 ± 1.68 ng/mL). Treatment with high-dose vitamin D resulted in clinical improvement in all patients.

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency is often seen in patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia in our population. This was equally true in veiled and nonveiled, but conservatively dressed populations. Effective treatment with high-dose vitamin D could lead to resolution of almost all symptoms. Further study of these populations and fortification of foods with vitamin D may be essential.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fibromyalgia / complications*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult