Article Text

other Versions

Vitamin D and chronic widespread pain in a white middle-aged British population: evidence from a cross-sectional population survey
  1. Kate Atherton (kate.stemp{at}
  1. UCL Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom
    1. Diane J Berry (d.berry{at}
    1. UCL Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom
      1. Tessa Parsons (t.parsons{at}
      1. UCL Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom
        1. Gary J Macfarlane (g.j.macfarlane{at}
        1. University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
          1. Chris Power (c.power{at}
          1. UCL Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom
            1. Elina Hypponen (e.hypponen{at}
            1. UCL Institute of Child Health, United Kingdom


              Objectives: Identified etiological factors for chronic widespread pain (CWP) are largely related to emotional and behavioral factors, but current management leads to modest improvement in symptoms. Vitamin D deficiency has been suggested as a novel modifiable risk factor for CWP. We examine the association between vitamin D status [measured by 25(OH)D] and CWP in a nationwide population sample of white British adults, accounting for potential mediating and confounding lifestyle factors.

              Methods: 9377 participants born one week in March, 1958, in England, Scotland or Wales and completing a biomedical assessment at age 45; 6824 eligible participants had data on 25(OH)D and completed pain manikins.

              Results: Prevalence of CWP varied by 25(OH)D concentration in women but not in men, with the lowest prevalence observed for females with 75-99 nmol/l (14.6% for <25nmol/l, 14.7% for 25-49 nmol/l, 11.5% for 50-74nmo/l, 7.7% for 75-99 nmol/l, and 9.7% for participants with >100nmol/l). There was an interaction between 25(OH)D concentration and gender in relation to CWP (interaction, p=0.006), which was not fully explained by differences in lifestyle or social factors, adjusted interaction, p= 0.03). For women, the association between 25(OH)D concentration and CWP persisted after full adjustment (OR for <75nmol/l vs. 75-99 nmol/l 1.57, 95%CI 1.09, 2.26), while no evidence for an association was apparent in men (1.03, 0.75, 1.43).

              Conclusion: Current vitamin D status was associated with CWP in women but not in men. Follow-up studies are needed to evaluate whether higher vitamin D intake could have beneficial effects on CWP risk.

              Statistics from

              Request permissions

              If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.