Vitamin D in Fibromyalgia: A Causative or Confounding Biological Interplay?

Nutrients. 2016 Jun 4;8(6):343. doi: 10.3390/nu8060343.


Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic syndrome with an increasing prevalence, characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain in combination with a variety of cognitive symptoms and fatigue. A plethora of scientific evidence that has accumulated during the last decades, resulted in a significant improvement of the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease. However, current therapeutic approaches in patients with FM remains a multidimensional approach including patient education, behavioral therapy, exercise, pain management, and relief of chronic symptoms, rather than the use drug therapies, based on the mechanisms of disease development. Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin derived mainly from skin synthesis through ultraviolet radiation, has been recognized to manifest a plethora of extraskeletal actions, apart from its fundamental role in skeletal and calcium homeostasis, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular actions, and potential anti-inflammatory properties. Recent findings indicate that hypovitaminosis D to be highly prevalent in patients with FM. Supplementation studies are limited so far, indicating potential beneficial effects on pain and severity of the disease, however specific recommendations are lacking. This review aims to summarize and critically appraise data regarding the pathophysiological interplay between vitamin D and FM, available results from observational and supplementation studies so far, with a clinical discourse on current knowledge gaps and future research agenda.

Keywords: 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)D3); 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D); calcitriol; cholecalciferol; chronic pain; quality of life; vitamin D receptor (VDR).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Comorbidity
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Evidence-Based Medicine*
  • Fibromyalgia / epidemiology
  • Fibromyalgia / etiology*
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Fibromyalgia / therapy
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diet therapy
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / physiopathology*


  • Vitamin D