A randomized controlled trial found that women who suffer from dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) who supplemented with a large dose of vitamin D endured much less pain than women who received a placebo, according to research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Primary Dysmenorrhea is one of the most common gynecologic complaints, affecting up to 50% of post pubescent women.
Researchers from the University of Messina, in Italy recruited 40 women ages 18-40 who suffer from dysmenorrhea. The researchers randomly assigned 20 women to receive one dose of 300,000 IU of vitamin D3 five days before the beginning of their next menstrual cycle, and assigned 20 women to receive a placebo.
Over the two month duration of the study, the researchers found that women in the vitamin D group reported significantly less pain (p<0.001) when compared to the placebo group.
About 40% of women in the placebo group reportedly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the accepted drug for the management of dysmenorrhea, at least once during the duration of the study, while women in the vitamin D group did not use NSAIDs.
Dr Lasco concludes,
“Our data support the use of cholecalciferol in these patients, especially when exhibiting low plasmatic levels of 25(OH)D, and allow these women to limit the use of NSAIDs.”
Lasco A, Catalano A, Benvenga S. Improvement of primary dysmenorrheal caused by a single oral dose of vitamin D: Results of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Archives of Internal Medicine. Feb 2012.