Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a complicated endocrine disorder affecting many different areas of a sufferer’s body and life. Reliable information can be hard to come by and symptoms such as infertility, excess facial and body hair, acne, fatigue and excess weight can leave women with PCOS feeling inadequate, demoralised and depressed with life.
There are many simple steps that women with PCOS can incorporate into their lives to gain control over PCOS and put them on the path to better health. In this series of articles, we will explore 20 simple and easy steps that can make a difference to PCOS.
Step # 12
Supplement with herbs and nutrients which support healthy carbohydrate metabolism: Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency occurs in a very high percentage of women with PCOS, over 70%, and appears to be a contributing factor to some of the biochemical abnormalities seen in the condition such as irregular menstruation and infertility. Increasing Vitamin D levels has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help in the treatment of obesity. Researchers at the Medical University of Graz in Austria have found that low Vitamin D levels correlate with the occurrence and severity of belly fat, weight gain, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, elevated insulin levels, elevated triglycerides and high cholesterol levels.
In a study of 13 women with PCOS, 8 were found to have a degree of vitamin D deficiency – some quite severe. All 13 women were treated with vitamin D2 (not the recommended form of Vitamin D by the way D3 is much much better) at a dose of 50,000 IU once or twice a week, and also received 1,500 mg of supplemental calcium per day.
Nine women in the study had either irregular or completely absent menstruation prior to the study. After Vitamin D supplementation 7 had their cycles return and/or normalise within 2 months and … here’s the good bit … the 2 who didn’t have their cycles return or normalise … were pregnant! Any incidences of dysfunctional uterine bleeding also resolved within 2 months of Vitamin D supplementation.
Other studies have also shown that a percentage of women with polycystic ovary syndrome had sub-optimal levels of vitamin D. Low vitamin D has been clearly linked to insulin resistance and obesity.
Next article in series: 20 simple steps you can take to control polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) #13
- Vitamin D deficiency is common in women with PCOS and contributes to the symptoms
- Insulin resistance risk greater when obesity and vitamin D deficiency both present
Thys-Jacobs S, Donovan D, Papadopoulos A, Sarrel P, Bilezikian JP. Vitamin D and calcium dysregulation in the polycystic ovarian syndrome. Steroids 1999;64:430-435.
You can also find more information on PCOS at www.mypcos.info
This article was originally published at My PCOS Info. Further references and links to the studies mentioned can be found there.