22 Mar Long or irregular cycle? Vitamin D may help
Do you have an unusually long menstrual cycle–one that lasts longer than 35 days?
Have a cycle that varies in length from month to month?
While you should let your gynecologist know about your cycle to rule out any problems, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have a hormone or other health disorder. However, it can be a critical issue if you’re trying to get pregnant or you simply want to plan your life around your cycle.
So, what can you do to get a shorter cycle if yours is long or a regular cycle if yours is irregular?
Recent research points to one possible solution: Take a daily vitamin D supplement.
In one study in the journal Fertility and Sterility, women who were lowest in vitamin D had the highest chances of having a cycle longer than 34 days.
And, in a study in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, women who were lowest in vitamin D had the highest risk of having an irregular cycle.
Why the link between your cycle and vitamin D? Researchers actually aren’t entirely sure since this is relatively new territory they’ve begun to explore. However, they suspect vitamin D plays a role in regulating certain hormones that affect ovarian function. So, if your body’s store of vitamin D dips too low, it could throw off your cycle, making it less regular.
So, how much vitamin D should you be taking every day? The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) in the U.S. is 600 IU daily. However, research shows most people can safely take 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily. Look for vitamin D3, which is the most readily absorbed form of the supplement.
What about getting vitamin D from the sun? While it’s true that many people can get a full dose of D from about 10 minutes of sun exposure without sunscreen, it’s not a reliable way to keep your body’s store of vitamin D continually stocked. The problem is that changes in the angle of the sun throughout the year, where you live and darker skin tones can all hamper vitamin D synthesis in the skin.
Note: As with all supplements, vitamin D can interact with some drugs (such as certain steroid and weight-loss medicines), supplements and herbs, and can impact certain health conditions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information and do your own research on vitamin D, for instance, here and here.