Daily wisdom: vitamin D could replace painkillers

Extra sunshine might help athletes recover from DOMS.

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A combination of quality sleep and vitamin D supplementation may be powerful enough to ease all types of aches, including chronic pain and menstrual cramps, according to a new study analysis in the Journal of Endocrinology. In fact, it may even help reduce post-workout muscle soreness, says internist Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., author of Pain Free, 1,2,3!


The combination does work, however, it’s less the fact that vitamin D and sleep are like a supercharged Ibuprofen, and more that most of us are wildly deficient in both (vitamin D and sleep). That deficiency makes aches and pains worse than they need to be, including the soreness you feel after a grueling workout. According to the CDC, 35 percent of adults log less than the recommended seven hours of sleep and 33 percent of Americans are either at risk of a vitamin D deficiency or clinically deficient. “It’s really no surprise that, given the rising vitamin D deficiency and poor sleep, we’ve gone from one quarter of Americans having pain to one third in the last 15 years,” Teitelbaum says. “Sleep is when our body’s repair systems come out. Without enough sleep, these repairs cannot occur,” he explains. Sleep is when your body produces growth hormone, which helps increase muscle mass and repair damaged tissue. Moreover, vitamin D is crucial both for balancing inflammation (the source of pain) and improving sleep (since poor sleep can exacerbate pain). In fact, in the study analysis, chronic pain sufferers who took between 1200 and 2100 IU per day of vitamin D reported less pain and improved sleep patterns and duration.


Whether it’s chronic pain or DOMS, easing your aches may actually be as simple as getting better sleep and adequate amounts of vitamin D. “Be sure to get 1000 units of vitamin D a day and eight hours of sleep a night,” Teitelbaum says.