By Tom Majestic
Pioneer Press

“Researchers found that 93 percent of 150 participants who complained of
nonspecific body aches were vitamin D deficient..”

Do you hurt all over? Researchers at the University of Minnesota say you
might feel better if you drank more milk and enjoyed a bit more sunshine.

The discovery is important because as many as 20 percent of U.S. adults
experience chronic pain. Of those, about nine in 10 report some degree of
long- or short-term disability. Treatment costs are estimated at $50 billion

Studies over the years have shown that people who don’t get enough
vitamin D ÷ a substance usually associated with fortified milk and sunlight ÷
are more likely to suffer from chronic body aches. What they didn’t know,
until now, is how common vitamin D deficiency is, particularly among
younger people and immigrant populations who complain of chronic pain.

In a study published in today’s issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings,
university researchers found that 93 percent of 150 participants who
complained of nonspecific body aches were vitamin D deficient.

The study also suggests the problem may be even more widespread among
younger Americans and members of certain racial and ethnic groups.

Every one of the African-American, East African, Hispanic and American
Indian participants in the study were vitamin D deficient.

All participants younger than 30, regardless of nationality, also were found
to be deficient. Of those, more than half were severely deficient.

Finally, five participants, who had been told by their doctors that their pain
was “all in their head,” had no vitamin D at all, according to the study.

“These findings are remarkably different than what is taught in medical
school,” said Dr. Greg Plotnikoff, professor at the University of Minnesota’s
Center for Spirituality and Healing and lead researcher in the study. “We
found the worst vitamin D deficiency in young persons ÷ especially women
of childbearing age.”

Part of the reason is low consumption of milk, which is fortified with
vitamin D, the researchers said. The per capita milk consumption by U.S.
teenagers in 2001 provide less than 25 percent of the recommended daily
intake of vitamin D, they pointed out.

In other cases, immigrants who adhere to traditional dress codes that call for
covering of their heads, arms and legs are not getting enough exposure to
the sun, which helps the body produce vitamin D, the researchers said.

Because of the discovery, people with persistent, nonspecific body aches
and pains should be screened regularly for vitamin D deficiency, Plotnikoff
and his colleagues say.”

Tom Majeski can be reached at or 651-228-5583.