Can low vitamin D levels cause chronic fatigue syndrome?

  • BMJ Open

  • from Sarfaroj Khan
  • Clinical Summaries
Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.

Takeaway

  • Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) do not exhibit insufficient concentrations of circulating total 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]; however, the values were significantly higher compared with control participants.

Why this matters

  • Despite non-scientific media interest, limited data exist examining circulating concentration of vitamin D metabolites in patients with CFS/ME.

Key results

  • No deficiency in serum total 25(OH)D [25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 metabolites] was evident in patients with CFS/ME.
  • Compared with control participants, total serum 25(OH)D concentration was significantly higher (P=.001) in patients with CFS/ME (47.3 nmol/L vs 60.2 nmol/L, respectively).
  • Compared with control participants, the average vitamin D intake through the use of supplements was higher (P=.05) in patients with CFS/ME (0.6±1.7 vs 4.9±9.7 µg/d, respectively).
  • Analysis of Chalder Fatigue Questionnaire data demonstrated no association between perceived fatigue and vitamin D levels in patients with CFS/ME with high or low total 25(OH)D concentration.

Study design

  • Study evaluated 92 patients with CFS/ME and 94 age-matched control participants to investigate the association between CFS/ME and vitamin D measures.
  • Funding: British Medical Research Council; ME Association; University of Liverpool.

Limitations

  • Majority of participants were Caucasians, hence findings may not reflect all CFS/ME populations.