Vitamin D and Endometriosis: Benefits and Uses
Did you know that there may be a connection between endo symptoms and vitamin D levels? Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium.
This is important in building bones. Vitamin D is also important for muscle and nerve function, as well as an immune system function.1
Since vitamin D is so important for your body, it is added to many foods. Most milk, including plant-based milk, has vitamin D added to it.
You can also get vitamin D from fatty fish. If you are exposed to sunlight, your body creates vitamin D.
You can also take supplements to increase your intake of vitamin D.1 According to our 2021 Endometriosis In America Survey, 40 percent of endo warriors use vitamin D on a regular basis for endometriosis.
How does Vitamin D affect endometriosis?
At this time, doctors do not completely understand the link between vitamin D and endometriosis. They do know that people who have endometriosis are more likely to have low blood levels of vitamin D.
They have also found that people with more severe cases of endometriosis have the lowest levels of vitamin D. It is important to note that this does not mean endometriosis is caused by low vitamin D levels. It simply means they are connected.2
Doctors also researched if vitamin D could help with endometriosis pain. They took a group of 39 people with endometriosis and gave half of them prescription-strength vitamin D once a week.
The other half got a placebo (inactive pill). Unfortunately, doctors found no difference in pain levels between the people who got vitamin D and those who got the placebo.3
Vitamin D and in vitro studies
Some scientists have taken the time to see how vitamin D affects endometriosis outside of the human body. Research done outside of the body using cells is called in vitro studies. Scientists have done in vitro studies using endometriosis cells and vitamin D.4
The scientists found that vitamin D seems to block some of the proteins that cause inflammation. They also found that vitamin D may stop endometriosis from spreading.
Doctors have recommended more research on the effects that vitamin D may have in people with endometriosis.4
Should I take vitamin D?
There is not a lot of evidence that vitamin D will help you if you have endometriosis. You should talk to your doctor before you take any supplements.
Your doctor can run a very simple blood test to measure the vitamin D level in your blood. If your level is very low, your doctor may have you take a prescription-strength vitamin D supplement.
They may also recommend an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement.
Vitamin D can interact with other medicines. You should ask your doctor if any medicines you take could interact with vitamin D before you start taking them.
Make sure you are taking only as much vitamin D as your doctor recommends.1
It is also important to note that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means it does not flush out of your system with water like some other vitamins.
It can store in your body and become toxic. Too much vitamin D can cause:1
Muscle pain and weakness
Loss of appetite
Kidney issues from dehydration, excessive thirst, and urination
Doctors are still studying vitamin D and its effects on endometriosis. The recommendations for vitamin D in people with endometriosis may change as researchers learn more.
The 2021 Endometriosis In America survey was conducted online from February through March 2021. The survey was completed by 1,027 people.
Have you heard about the new tampon technology currently being tested to detect endometriosis?