Menstrual cramps and pain are just a couple of the things a woman may experience while on her period. Unfortunately many women aren’t aware of anything that could help to reduce the discomfort, and so they indulge in harmful pain medications such as Advil, Tylenol, or Aleve. But recent research shows that a single large dose of vitamin D may be enough to dampen the pain and discomfort brought on by a woman’s period.
Vitamin D Shown to Help Menstrual Cramps and Pain
Lead author Antonino Lasco, MD, of the University of Messina, and his team conducted a study with 40 women aged 18 to 40. At the beginning of the study, some of the women were randomly assigned a mega-dose of vitamin D at 300,000 IUs while other participants took an inactive liquid placebo. During the two month study period, the women tracked their menstrual pain and made it known whether they also took prescription or nonprescription pain medication.
Women taking the vitamin D not only reported experiencing less pain, none of them resorted to pain medication. 40 percent of the women who took the placebo admitted to taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug at least once.
“We observed a significant reduction of pain in the vitamin D group compared with the placebo group over the two-month duration of our study,” writes Lasco. The study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
An over-production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins can result in painful periods. Vitamin D is known to reduce their production, which in turn lessens the severity of menstrual cramps or pain. Vitamin D is also known to decrease the production of inflammation-causing molecules known as cytokines, leading to further aid in pain.
Since pain medication comes with unwanted adverse side-effects, supplementing with vitamin D serves as a much better solution for women with menstrual cramps. While the study exemplified how beneficial vitamin D can be at a single dose, daily intake of the vitamin may also be beneficial. To know for sure of how much vitamin D ingestion is optimal, a blood test can be taken called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. An optimal range of 50-70ng/ml would more than likely have dampened the pain and cramps even more.