This article was written by my previous Nutrition Grad Student, Kimmie Singh. She is a fat woman of color who experiences PCOS. You can find out more information about her work now as a dietitian here.
Vitamins and minerals are important for having a healthy body and people with PCOS need to pay a extra attention to vitamin D levels. Why?
Vitamin D is a hormone.
Research shows many people with PCOS are vitamin D deficient.
Healthy vitamin D levels in people 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 people with PCOS. Numerous studies found that among people with PCOS, lower vitamin D levels are linked to increased insulin resistance.
- One study found people 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 people with PCOS are also linked to higher HDL cholesterol levels (that’s the good cholesterol).
Want to find a way to treat your PCOS without dieting?
There is a still lot of emerging research about the exact role of vitamin D in people 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.
Want to explore more non diet options to help manage your PCOS, promote health AND healing?
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.
Lin, M., & Wu, M. (2015). The role of vitamin D in polycystic ovary syndrome. Indian Journal of Medical Research, 142(3), 238-240. doi:10.4103/0971-5916.166527
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