Patients with fibromyalgia (FM) who have low levels of vitamin D may have more problems in postural control and balance, a new study says.
The study, titled “The Relationship Between Balance And Vitamin 25(OH)D In Fibromyalgia Patients,” was published in the journal Modern Rheumatology.
Patients with FM, also referred to as fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), frequently complain of postural control and balance problems, and these musculoskeletal complications may lead to more falls.
Previous studies have suggested that balance may be affected by low levels of vitamin D. According to this hypothesis, lack of vitamin D leads to muscle weakness, deficient bone mineralization and increased risk of falls. However, studies on vitamin D levels in FM patients have reported contradictory results, so the contribution of this molecule to the disease remains elusive.
The objective of the study was to evaluate whether levels of vitamin D would be associated with pain and problems in balance and daily activities in FM patients. The study included 53 FM patients and 47 healthy individuals, with ages ranging from 35 to 65 years. Patients were examined using several measures, such as the Fibromyalgia Impact Scale (FIQ, measures the functional status), Berg Balance Scale (BBS measures the patient’s balance during certain activities), the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP measures the physical, emotional and social impact of the disease on the patient), and visual analog scale (VAS measures pain severity and fatigue).
Patients then were divided into groups according to whether they presented blood vitamin D levels above or below 30 ng/mL.
The analysis showed that 33 FM patients and 27 healthy individuals had vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL, and that levels were lower among patients with FM. However, the difference between both groups was not significant.
“According to the results of our study, a statistically significant difference was observed between the patients with FMS and the control group by balance, total and all subscales of NHP and pain,” the authors wrote in their report. “Moreover, the results indicated that there was a statistically significant difference between FMS patients with low and those with normal [vitamin D] levels by pain and balance tested with BBS. A positive significant correlation was established between balance and [vitamin D],” the study stated.
“[I]mpaired balance observed in patients with FMS may be associated with a number of causes,” they concluded. “It should be kept in mind that vitamin D level is likely to negatively affect balance and current pain intensity in FMS. After a relationship is established between vitamin D level and balance in FMS, such causes should be investigated again. Impaired balance in FMS reported in previous studies may be the result of low vitamin D levels. This should be assessed in follow-up studies covering a larger population.”