Can Vitamin D Treat Period Pain?
Women with dysmenorrhea who take a single high dose of vitamin D suffer much less menstrual pain and have no need of pain medications for any reason for up to 2 months, a new study has found.
“To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the effect of a single high dose of vitamin D in primary dysmenorrhea,” wrote the study authors, led by Antonino Lasco, MD, from the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Messina, Italy.
“Our data support the use of cholecalciferol in these patients, especially when exhibiting low plasmatic levels of 25(OH)D,” they write.
Dysmenorrhea affects almost one half of menstruating women.
The pelvic pain is believed to be triggered by excessive uterine production of prostaglandins, synthesized from omega-6 fatty acids before menses, that control vasoconstriction and uterine contractions.
According to the study authors, vitamin D may act as an anti-inflammatory and may regulate the expression of key genes involved in the prostaglandin pathway, causing decreased biological activity of prostaglandins.
The study included 40 women aged 18 to 40 years who had experienced at least 4 consecutive painful menstrual periods in the past 6 months and had a 25(OH)D serum level below the upper limit of the lowest quartile (<45 ng/mL).
They were not taking calcium, vitamin D, oral contraceptives, or other medications, and they had not used an intrauterine contraceptive device during the previous 6 months.
The participants could use other means of birth control, however. They were also allowed to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed, but they had to record their use of these agents.
The women were randomly assigned to receive a single oral dose of 300,000 IUs of vitamin D (cholecalciferol) or placebo 5 days before the time they expected to begin their next menstrual period.
The primary outcome was intensity of menstrual pain as measured by a visual analog scale. The secondary outcome was use of NSAIDs.
After 2 months, baseline pain scores decreased 41% among women in the vitamin D group; there was no difference in scores among women taking placebo.
The greatest reduction in pain was among women in the vitamin D group who had the most severe pain.
During the study, none of the women in the vitamin D group needed NSAIDs to manage pain at 1 and 2 months, whereas 40% of those taking placebo used an NSAID at least once.
I’m sure that many women out there would be very excited with this research and we can add this to the list of health benefits of Vitamin D.
Called the sunshine vitamin (because your body can make some Vitamin D with enough sunlight), vitamin D is essential for bone health and may slow the progression of arthritis.
It’s also believed to strengthen the immune system and possibly prevent some cancers.
While this Italian research is based on a single huge dose of 300,000 IU of Vitamin D once a month, these levels are unachievable here in Australia.
The TGA (Therapeutics Goods Administration) limits the amounts of Vitamin D that can be provided in a supplement.
At the moment Vitamin D manufacturers are only allowed to provide a maximum amount of 1000IU per capsule or liquid.
So to be able to reach these levels, you will need to be taking 300,000 capsules in one go…
Know Your Levels
Before you start taking a Vitamin D supplement, take a simple blood test to find out what your levels are.
Currently about 70% of Australians are Vitamin D deficient.
Recent research suggests that a reading below 80nmol/L indicate a deficiency. The optimal Vitamin D levels are between 100nmol/L – 175nmol/L.
Click Here to find out more about Emed Vitamin D Testing.
Choosing The Right Supplement
Supplementing with Vitamin D can be easy.
Bioceuticals Vitamin D3 Drops Forte provide 1000IU per drop – making it easier to supplement with higher doses.
This great tasting vanilla drop is easily absorbed and can also be added to drinks.