3 Reasons to Take Vitamin D If You Have PCOS

More Than Just a Vitamin

More people are recognizing that vitamin D is important for good health. It helps build strong bones and boosts your ability to fight colds and infections.

Vitamin D affects many systems in your body and is related to serious diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. So maybe it's not surprising that vitamin D also plays a role in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Vitamin D spelled out on blocks
Michelle Patrick / EyeEm / Getty Images

About 67% to 85% of women with PCOS are vitamin D deficient, which means they don’t have the recommended amount of vitamin D in their bodies. These low levels of vitamin D seem to aggravate PCOS symptoms.

In this article, you’ll gain a better understanding of why taking vitamin D could help you with fertility problems, mood disorders, and chronic diseases related to PCOS.

Improves Fertility

Vitamin D is important for the development of healthy eggs. Studies show that without sufficient vitamin D, women don’t produce normal, mature eggs. As a result, they may not be able to conceive or carry a healthy baby to full term. 

Low vitamin D can also cause problems with your uterus. It may not develop properly nor be able to support a baby’s development.


Studies have looked at women with PCOS who had irregular periods, which caused fertility problems. Once they started taking vitamin D daily, their periods become regular. The treatment included at least three months of daily supplements. Taking 400 IU of vitamin D with of 1000 mg of calcium is recommended.

Vitamin D also helped women with PCOS who were taking the fertility drug Clomid. With the vitamin supplements, these women had more success conceiving. The vitamin D seems to result in women having more mature follicles, which are the sacs that release eggs. This means more healthy eggs could be harvested for invitro fertilization.

Recap

Vitamin D deficiency can cause several fertility problems for women with PCOS:

  • Menstruation can be irregular.
  • Eggs don’t mature fully.
  • The uterus may not be strong enough to support a baby.
  • Fewer follicles are able to produce eggs for women using invitro fertilization.

Lowers Your Risk of Other Diseases

With PCOS, you’re more likely to develop other serious health problems. Many of these are related to metabolic syndrome. 

Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of conditions that put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include:

Metabolic syndrome affects 33% of women with PCOS. To prevent complications related to metabolic syndrome, women with PCOS are usually advised to lose weight and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. 

A lack of vitamin D has been directly linked to metabolic syndrome. For instance, according to research:

  • Vitamin D helped prevent insulin resistance, a condition in which your body can’t regulate blood sugar.
  • Insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels improved for overweight women with PCOS who took vitamin D for eight weeks.
  • Vitamin D and calcium supplements significantly reduced blood pressure in women with PCOS.

Recap

Increasing your vitamin D levels can help you to avoid illnesses associated with metabolic syndrome and related disorders.


Boosts Mood

It’s estimated that 50% of women with PCOS suffer from anxiety and up to 27% are depressed. These rates are much higher than those of depression and anxiety among women without PCOS.

Anxiety and depression can be caused by a number of factors related to PCOS symptoms:

  • Hormone imbalances may throw off mood.
  • Growth of facial hair and body changes can make women self-conscious about their appearances.
  • Dealing with health complications can cause physical and financial stress.
  • Infertility can lead to severe depression.

There's a difficult cycle between depression and PCOS related illnesses. Symptoms of depression may include appetite changes, physical pain, digestive issues, and sleep problems. These further aggravate health problems that cause depression: high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, or high cholesterol. 

Increasing your vitamin D is one way to help regulate your mood and break out of the cycle in which health problems lead to depression and depression leads to even more health problems.

Recap

Women who have too little vitamin D are more likely to suffer from depression regardless of whether they also have PCOS. But PCOS puts you at serious risk for complications related to depression. That makes it extremely important for you to talk with your doctor and seek help for mood disorders.

How Much Vitamin D Is Needed?

There isn’t a suggested dosage of vitamin D specifically for PCOS. Women aged 19 to 50 are advised to take 600 IU each day, but this may not be sufficient for many women with PCOS. Some women may need to increase their intake. Talk to your doctor about your specific needs.

Sources of Vitamin D

Few foods naturally contain a significant amount of vitamin D. But you can get some from:

  • Fortified milk and cereals
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna

The sun provides as much as 90% of the body’s vitamin D. That may not be enough, though, to meet your overall vitamin D needs. Plus, sunscreen blocks it, and many areas of the United States don’t get enough sun to ensure you have good exposure to vitamin D.

Summary

Vitamin D deficiency can make symptoms of PCOS worse. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement with 600 IU may ease some PCOS problems such as infertility, weight gain, and anxiety. That in turn, can improve your overall health and further improve your emotional state and energy, which leads to even more gains in wellness.

Vitamin D isn’t a miracle pill that will make PCOS or other illnesses disappear, but it could be an important part of living a satisfying life with PCOS.

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Article Sources
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