Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is often prescribed by clinicians for fibromyalgia (FM) patients to help improve pain symptoms. But a study shows that adding vitamin B12 to fibromyalgia medication is largely based on reports showing this vitamin’s deficiency in patients with other pain disorders.
In the study titled “Serum levels of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in fibromyalgia,” published in a letter to the editor of the journal Rheumatology International, researchers reviewed current literature and concluded that the few reports addressing vitamin B12 serum levels in fibromyalgia patients had not found differences between patients and control individuals.
“Due to scarce data on vitamin B12 in patients with FM, the objective of this study was to evaluate the serum levels and clinical significance of circulating vitamin B12 (cobalamin) in patients with fibromyalgia,” the authors wrote.
Therefore, following the revised criteria for fibromyalgia diagnosis, they selected 29 fibromyalgia patients with a mean age of 52.9 years plus or minus 17.7, 89.6 percent of them women; and with a disease duration of 7.0 years, plus or minus 8.1. Although none of the participants was taking vitamin B12, their mean serum levels of cobalamin (referring to several chemical forms of vitamin B12) were normal (465.4 ± 226.1 ng/L), and did not show a deficiency for the vitamin.
“This is the fourth report to evaluate the serum levels of vitamin B12 in patients with fibromyalgia and confirmed previous data that serum levels of vitamin B12 are not altered in these patients. Cobalamin deficiency is linked to pain, and supplementation with this vitamin is used to treat pain conditions. However, the present study and also all three previous articles in the literature demonstrated no link between fibromyalgia and cobalamin deficiency, ” the authors wrote.
Overall, although the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are highly shared by fibromyalgia patients, this study, together with other previously published reports, show that fibromyalgia patients have the expected levels of this vitamin in their serum.
The study further reveals the low impact of measuring vitamin B12 levels in FM patients. “Based on all these previous results and also those found in the present study, cobalamin levels measurement is not recommended in routine practice for patients with fibromyalgia,” the authors wrote.