News

Increased vitamin D intakes may reduce growing pains in children

April 30, 2014

A new study from Italy reports that a supplementation with vitamin D may reduce musculature and skeleton pain due to a high growth velocity rate in children.

The prospective cohort study measured blood vitamin D concentrations, bone density and pain intensity of
33 children, aged 8 to 12 years, with growing pains who received different doses of vitamin D3 for two years (1). The children with severe vitamin D deficiency (below 10 ng/ml) were given 100,000 UI of intramuscular vitamin D3 once a month; the children with deficiency (10-20 ng/ml) were given 100,000 UI orally once a month; the children with insufficiency (20-30 ng/ml) received 25,000 UI orally once a month, and those with normal vitamin D levels (above 30 ng/ml) were not treated. The study results showed that 94% of the child- ren affected by growing pains had values of vitamin D below the normal range. Those children also showed lower bone density and cortical thickness compared to participants with higher vitamin D levels. After three months of vitamin D supplementation the children showed a significant increase in blood vitamin D concent- rations and cortical bone density and a significant decrease in musculature and skeleton pain intensity. After 24 months a further significant reduction in pain intensity and an improvement in bone density were obser- ved.

The researchers commented that the observed reduction of pain intensity could be attributed to more mineralized cortical bone as a consequence of increased vitamin D levels (2). It has been suggested that skeletal pain could be caused by an altered structure of cortical bone during growth. The scientists added that it is helpful to consider vitamin D deficiency in children with musculoskeletal pains and it is worthwhile to evaluate their bone mineral status with quantitative ultrasound assessment.

Recurrent lower limb pains, termed growing pains or growth pains, constitute the most frequent cause of musculoskeletal pain in children. Growing pains mostly affect children between the ages of 3 and 12 years, and their prevalence varies from 2.6% to 49.4% (3). To explain the causes of growing pains, many different theories have been purported (4), but none has ever been confirmed. Growing pains continue to be diag- nosed by exclusion of other factors, and only the symptoms are treated.

References

  1. Morandi G. et al. Significant association among growing pains, vitamin D supplementation, and bone mineral status: results from a pilot cohort study. J Bone Miner Metab. Published online April 2014.
  2. Holick M. F. Vitamin D Deficiency: what a pain it is. Mayo Clin Proc. 2003; 78:1457–1459.
  3. Uziel Y. and Hashkes P. J. Growing pains in children. Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2007; 5:5.
  4. Al-Khattat A. and Campbell J. Recurrent limb pain in childhood (‘growing pains’). Foot. 2000; 10:117–123.