Tag Archives: bone pain

Constant and mysterious leg pain, solved

Before my gluten-freedom I became aware of a constant, aching bone pain in my legs (not a tissue or a muscle or a joint thing) that was most noticeable when doing the dishes or standing in line at the airport. In 2000 or so I realized that if I didn’t take vitamin B-complex (along with biotin and vitamin B12) for two days, by the third day my legs would hurt so badly my jaw would do that shaking thing and I’d start breathing in the kind of way that makes your fellow shoppers at the grocery store edge away from you. Since I took B-complex/etc. every morning for years, though, I sort of forgot about it.

At some point I stopped the B-complex and after several months it occurred to me that the leg pain had not returned. I figured it was the calcium and magnesium I had taken for about five months a while back. B vitamins assist in the absorption of calcium and must have been dragging enough calcium in to stop the pain while they were in my system, but not enough to create a permanent change.

Three strange and unexpected effects of correcting a vitamin or mineral deficiency

1. Vivid dreams.
This effect of vitamin B6 is fairly well-known. Some members of Yahoo’s pyroluria group (pyroluria is a condition in which vitamin B6 is chronically deficient) say that you’re at the right dose when your remembered dreams are pleasant, and that you’re on too much if they are too vivid or jittery-making, but I’ve never come to any conclusion myself.

2. Random, pointless memories.
I’ve occasionally experienced this when repleting with big doses of calcium, magnesium, iron, or B12, all closely associated with memory. At the same time I realized I could recall long-forgotten Photoshop commands or go to the grocery store without a shopping list, I would also be visited by utterly insignificant memories floating across my brain: the brickwork around the entrance to a store in my old neighborhood that I never even went in, or a pair of flip-flops I wanted in fifth grade that my mother wouldn’t buy for me. I wouldn’t call them intrusive thoughts, a term used SQUIRREL in discussing mood disorders; it’s more like the Goodyear blimp materializing above your backyard — quiet, harmless, and unmistakably out of place.

My theory is that in repletion the brain finally has the resources to process the backlog of old memories, but the worker imps assigned to sort through the piles and stacks aren’t used to having to work so fast and in the chaos they occasionally send a memory down the consciousness pneumatic tube instead of the archives tube, leaving you standing in the shower wondering why the &@!* the third stanza of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” just popped into your head. There are studies to back this up — Harvard, NIH, SETI — but I don’t have time to search for the citations right now.

3. Aches in old bone injuries.
I was warned about this by another pillpopper prior to taking calcium the first time. Rebuilding calcium levels, either with calcium or with vitamin D, might encourage your body to start repairing old bone injuries, causing fleeting aches and pains. For me the loci of the pains correspond closely to past incidents involving coffee tables, ten-speed bikes, and gravel running tracks.

Note: beware a constant, dull pain, as it can be a sign of toxicity, which I once had after waaaaaaaay too much vitamin A.