Vitamin D status in chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis: a cohort study from the North-West of England

Kate E Earl, Giorgos K Sakellariou, Melanie Sinclair, Manuel Fenech, Fiona Croden, Daniel J Owens, Jonathan Tang, Alastair Miller, Clare Lawton, Louise Dye, Graeme L Close, William D Fraser, Anne McArdle, Michael B J Beadsworth

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5 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Severe vitamin D deficiency is a recognised cause of skeletal muscle fatigue and myopathy. The aim of this study was to examine whether chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is associated with altered circulating vitamin D metabolites.

DESIGN: Cohort study.

SETTING: UK university hospital, recruiting from April 2014 to April 2015.

PARTICIPANTS: Ninety-two patients with CFS/ME and 94 age-matched healthy controls (HCs).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The presence of a significant association between CFS/ME, fatigue and vitamin D measures.

RESULTS: No evidence of a deficiency in serum total 25(OH) vitamin D (25(OH)D2 and 25(OH)D3 metabolites) was evident in individuals with CFS/ME. Liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis revealed that total 25(OH)D was significantly higher (p=0.001) in serum of patients with CFS/ME compared with HCs (60.2 and 47.3 nmol/L, respectively). Analysis of food/supplement diaries with WinDiets revealed that the higher total 25(OH) vitamin D concentrations observed in the CFS/ME group were associated with increased vitamin D intake through use of supplements compared with the control group. Analysis of Chalder Fatigue Questionnaire data revealed no association between perceived fatigue and vitamin D levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Low serum concentrations of total 25(OH)D do not appear to be a contributing factor to the level of fatigue of CFS/ME.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere015296
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Case-Control Studies
  • Encephalomyelitis/epidemiology
  • England
  • Fatigue
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D Deficiency/epidemiology


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