Vitamin D eases menstrual cramps

Reuters reports that according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, vitamin D3 may ease menstrual cramps.

WebMD reports, “A single large dose of vitamin D may help women with painful periods feel more comfortable and skip painkillers,” the researchers reported.

The investigators “compared the use of the vitamin D dose with placebo” in “40 women” between “18 to 40” years of age who had “painful menstrual periods, known as dysmenorrheal.”

The study found “a significant reduction of pain in the vitamin D group compared with the placebo group over the two-month duration of our study.”

Specifically, “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,” Medscape explains.

“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 (P < .001).”

Notably, “the greatest reduction in pain was among women in the vitamin D group who had the most severe pain at baseline (r = -0.76; P < .001).”

MedPage Today reported, “But in an accompanying commentary,” Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson, ScD, of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston “pointed out that the vitamin D dose used in the study, even when averaged over two months, was still higher than the ‘tolerable upper limit’ established last year by the Institute of Medicine.”

They “recommended larger and longer trials not only to confirm the benefit of high-dose vitamin D, but also to determine how long it may last – and, thus, how frequently the doses would have to be given.”

They also “said the findings were plausible on the basis of known anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D.”

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