As women, we all know that our menstrual cycle can be a tricky thing to navigate. But did you know that getting enough Vitamin D can play a crucial role in keeping your cycle running smoothly?
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, has many benefits for overall health, and recent research has shown that it can also impact menstrual cycle function. In this article, we will take a closer look at how Vitamin D affects the menstrual cycle, and how to make sure you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin to support healthy menstruation.
How Does Vitamin D Affect The Menstrual Cycle?
A recent study conducted in 2021 by Singh et al. of over 150 women discovered that those who have low Vitamin D levels are more likely to experience irregular cycles. The characteristics of these irregularities are a prolonged follicular phase, late ovulation, a longer-than-average menstrual cycle (over 35 days), and even an absence of menstruation.
But, it is not just a delayed or irregular menstrual cycle that can be affected by low Vitamin D levels. An additional study conducted in 2020 also found that Vitamin D deficiency can increase the intensity and duration of menstrual pain. Vitamin D regulates the production of prostaglandins, which play a role in the pain experienced by many women during their period. A low level of Vitamin D can increase levels of prostaglandins, which cause the muscles in your uterus to contract, causing more pain.
What’s more, Vitamin D, especially D3, affects gene expression, including Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH), produced in the ovary’s granulosa cells. Having a low AMH level is associated with having a low egg reserve. Although more research still needs to be conducted in this area, there is an indication that menstruation irregularities may also be caused by Vitamin D’s effect on AMH.
How To Know If You Have A Vitamin D Deficiency:
Vitamin D deficiencies are not uncommon, in fact, 42% of Americans are deficient in this vital vitamin, and it seems to affect women more than men. A Vitamin D deficiency can manifest as many symptoms including low mood and fatigue, which gets significantly worse around menstruation, as well as irregular and painful periods.
What’s Enough Vitamin D And How to Get it:
The Vitamin D Council recommends 5000IU (125mcg) of Vitamin D daily. Our bodies naturally produce 90% of our Vitamin D through sunlight exposure. To ensure adequate levels, it is suggested to spend approximately 30 minutes in the sun a few times a week. However, for those with busy lifestyles, indoor work environments, or limited sunlight in their geographical location, obtaining Vitamin D through diet and supplements may be necessary.
Foods High in Vitamin D:
There are certain foods that you can add to your diet to help reach your Vitamin D goals. Some of the richest sources of Vitamin D come from fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, or mackerel. If fish isn’t your thing, mushrooms, especially some types of wild mushrooms and egg yolks are good sources of Vitamin D. Additionally, you can find many foods fortified with Vitamin D, including cereals, cow’s milk, orange juice, and yogurt.
Vitamin D Supplements:
A high-quality Vitamin D supplement may be the answer if you suffer from irregular menstrual cycles, or heavy pain around menstruation. When choosing a Vitamin D supplement it is important to make sure that the daily dose contains 5000IU (125mcg) of Vitamin D, as per the Vitamin D Council’s recommendation. Additionally, Vitamin D should be in the form of D3 – more effective at raising Vitamin D levels compared to the other form of Vitamin D, D2. Finally, a top-tier Vitamin D supplement will contain a thermogenic enhancer, like BioPerine® to maximize absorption.
Final Thoughts: Does Vitamin D Affect The Menstrual Cycle?
The role of Vitamin D in maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle should not be overlooked. By ensuring adequate Vitamin D intake, whether it be through sunlight exposure, food, or supplements, you are taking important steps towards a happy and healthy menstrual experience.
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