The Neglected Nutrient Part 3: Vitamin D vs. PMS

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Research released in 2005 from Harvard University shows a relationship between low vitamin D intake and increased PMS.  The Vital Choices newsletter shares this research in their third article on sunlight, vitamin D, and human health.

The Neglected Nutrient Part 3: Vitamin D vs. PMS
Together, vitamin D and calcium may reduce the risk of developing PMS
by Craig Weatherby 


We’d intended to address vitamin D’s relationship to reduced risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in part 3 of our series, but our plans were changed by headlines that appeared last week.  It seems that vitamin D and calcium may play important roles in preventing premenstrual syndrome (PMS). 

As every woman knows, the term PMS describes a cluster of emotional and physical symptoms that manifest about five to 10 days before the start of menstruation, and fade when menstruation begins.

PMS affects up to three in four women of childbearing age, usually during their late 20s and early 40s.  It is most common among women with at least one child, those with a family history of major depression, and women with a history of postpartum depression or mood disorders.  About one in five of all women with PMS suffer severe symptoms.


Lower vitamin D and calcium intake linked to higher PMS risk

Walter Willett, M.D.—the renowned Harvard University researcher mentioned elsewhere in this issue (see “Customer Query”)—started the Nurses’ Health Study II in 1989.  As a “prospective” study, its purpose was to follow a large group of women over time, and thereby examine the possible links between their diets and lifestyles on risk of various diseases. The participating female nurses answered food questionnaires and other health surveys in 1991, 1995, and 1999.

In the new study, researchers led by Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, M.D. of the University of Massachusetts compared the diets of about 1,000 Nurses’ Health Study participants with PMS and about 2,000 participants without PMS.  They found that the women without PMS appeared to eat more foods rich in vitamin D and calcium, while the women with PMS had lower blood levels of calcium and vitamin D.

The results of earlier studies indicated that supplemental calcium might ease PMS symptoms.  However, the new findings suggest that calcium and vitamin D may both be important for reducing the risk of PMS, possibly by influencing body levels of estrogen, the female sex hormone.

After accounting for factors like age, the number of children borne, and smoking, the researchers concluded that intake of vitamin D and calcium had the strongest correlation with risk of PMS: in other words, the women with the highest intake of vitamin D and calcium enjoyed a significantly reduced risk of experiencing PMS.





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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2024 at 10:56 pm and is filed under Articles, Research.

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