Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem that can be easily corrected, but which brings many health consequences when left unaddressed. Vitamin D has several functions, among which is acting as a potent anti-estrogenic and anti-progesteronic compound. Previous research has shown an inverse correlation between the upregulation of estrogen and progesterone receptors and vitamin D receptors.
According to a new study published earlier this month in Nutrients, researchers demonstrated a relationship between vitamin D status and menstrual cycle disorders in young women.
This study included 77 women who were divided into two groups. One group included women with low vitamin D (< 30 ng/mL; n=60), while the other group’s subjects had vitamin D levels considered normal (> 30 ng/mL ≤ 80 ng/mL; n=17).
In the low vitamin D group, 40% of the women reported long menstrual cycles, 27% had oligomenorrhoea, and 13% had amenorrhea. These were substantially greater than in the normal vitamin D group, in which 12% had menstrual cycle disorders, 6% had oligomenorrhoea, and 6% had amenorrhea. In these cohorts, women with low vitamin D had almost five times the risk of having menstrual cycle disorders compared to women with normal vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D status should be assessed and supplemented accordingly to address insufficiency and for its potential effect in regulating menstrual disorders. All chronic health issues—such as menstrual disorders—are multifactorial, but vitamin D is an inexpensive and safe option to take prophylactically.
Uterine fibroids are one of the most common benign neoplasms of the female genital tract, affecting as much as 25%−33% of women. Recent research suggests that vitamin D deficiency plays a role in uterine fibroid (UF) development. Vitamin D levels are significantly lower in patients with uterine fibroids compared to patients without them.
In one 2009 study, researchers demonstrated the relationship between vitamin D levels and the growth of uterine fibroid cells. Inhibition of fibroid growth was correlated with increasing vitamin D concentration. Another study showed the effect of vitamin D3 on the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) pathway. This was inhibited by increased concentrations of vitamin D and further confirmed the role of vitamin D in the UF pathology. (TGF-β is considered one of the most relevant factors in the pathogenesis of fibrosis-associated diseases.)
Vitamin D regulates cell proliferation and differentiation, inhibits angiogenesis, and stimulates apoptosis. These processes are involved in the inhibition of neoplastic formation and tumor growth in uterine fibroids.
Other dietary supplements to consider for supporting a healthy menstrual cycle include fiber, fish oil, and GLA.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS