Vitamin D is a hormone.
Research shows many women with PCOS are vitamin D deficient.
Healthy vitamin D levels in women with PCOS can be protective against lots of PCOS-related health problems. Here are some ways in which Vitamin D may help your PCOS:
- Insulin resistance is super common in women with PCOS. Numerous studies found that among women with PCOS, lower vitamin D levels are linked to increased insulin resistance.
- One study found women with PCOS who take vitamin D supplements may have lower fasting blood sugar levels and lower circulating insulin (remember: extra insulin in circulation causes a lot of the insulin resistance symptoms).
- Numerous studies suggest vitamin D may reduce inflammation, a common effect of PCOS.
- When combined with Metformin, taking vitamin D supplements have been shown to improve menstrual regulation.
- Healthy vitamin D levels in women with PCOS are also linked to higher HDL cholesterol levels (that’s the good cholesterol).
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There is a still lot of emerging research about the exact role of vitamin D in women with PCOS, so we aren’t sure exactly how vitamin D is linked to PCOS. Needless to say, having healthy vitamin D levels are important for a healthy body.
Here are some ways to get vitamin D:
- Your skin makes Vitamin D when it’s exposed to direct sunlight. Make some time for your favorite outdoor activity.
- Don’t forget to drink your milk…or any other drink that is fortified with vitamin D. Some juices and non-dairy milks are fortified with vitamin D, so check out the nutrition label on your favorite drink.
- Check out of these Vitamin D-rich foods: salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef, liver, egg yolks, and some cheeses and yogurts
- It can be tough to get enough vitamin D without supplements. When taking supplemental Vitamin D, be sure the dose doesn’t exceed 4,000 IU per day!!!! (Excuse my exclamation marks, but too much vitamin D can be harmful.) Try to consume at least 600 IU per day. Unfortunately, supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to choose supplements that are third party tested. Julie recommends the following brands: Nature’s Made, Kirkland and Nordic Naturals.
Let’s continue this conversation in the Facebook PCOS Support Group. Click here to join! Have you had your Vitamin D levels checked? What were they? What has helped yours stay in the healthy range??
Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin D. Retrieved July 16, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/
El-Shal, A. S., Shalaby, S. M., Aly, N. M., Rashad, N. M., & Abdelaziz, A. M. (2013). Genetic variation in the vitamin D receptor gene and vitamin D serum levels in Egyptian women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Molecular Biology Reports,40(11), 6063-6073. doi:10.1007/s11033-013-2716-y
Fang, F., Ni, K., Cai, Y., Shang, J., Zhang, X., & Xiong, C. (2017). Effect of vitamin D supplementation on polycystic ovary syndrome: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 26, 53-60. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.11.008
Keshavarz, M. A., Moradi, S., & Rohani, F. (2017). Association between serum 25(OH) vitamin D and metabolic disturbances in polycystic ovary syndrome. The Netherlands Journal of Medicine, 75(5), 190-195. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
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Maktabi, M., Chamani, M., & Asemi, Z. (2017). The Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Metabolic Status of Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 49(07), 493-498. doi:10.1055/s-0043-107242
Pilz, S., Kienreich, K., Rutters, F., Jongh, R., Van Ballegooijen, A. J., Grubler, M., Dekker, J. M. (2012). Role of Vitamin D in the Development of Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes. Current Diabetes Reports, 13(2), 261-270. doi:10.1007/s11892-012-0358-4
Scott, D., Joham, A., Teede, H., Gibson-Helm, M., Harrison, C., Cassar, S., . . . Courten, B. D. (2016). Associations of Vitamin D with Inter- and Intra-Muscular Adipose Tissue and Insulin Resistance in Women with and without Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Nutrients, 8(12), 774. doi:10.3390/nu8120774