Vitamin D and PCOS

Around 45% of all adults are deficient in Vitamin D. There are many reasons you could be deficient in Vitamin D for example having darker skin, being of a higher weight, living in a northern country as well as having PCOS. In fact, 67-85% of women with PCOS are deficient in vitamin D.

 

Vitamin D is very interesting it is the only vitamin that’s also a hormone. As a hormone, there are vitamin D receptors on the cells and tissues in our bodies. Having low levels of vitamin D can affect all the cells in our bodies causing them to not function properly. Here are just a few roles of vitamin D.

Roles of Vitamin D

  • Inflammation
  • Cardiovascular risk factors
  • Fertility
  • Menstrual regularity
  • Glucose and insulin metabolism
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Weight regulation
  • Depression
  • Immune functioning
  • bone mineralization

 

Fertility

Vitamin D is directly involved in follicle egg maturation and quality and development as well as overall fertility. In fact, I always recommend vitamin D supplementation especially if a client is over 35 and looking to conceive.

Androgens

Women with PCOS many times have high androgens. In other words, androgens are the so-called ‘make hormones’. Vitamin D can actually help reduce androgen levels in women with PCOS. Reducing many PCOS side effects such as acne, and hirsutism and also reducing blood pressure.

Inflammation

PCOS is a state of low-grade inflammation that may stem from insulin resistance. Compared to women without PCOS of similar weight and ages, women with PCOS have higher levels of inflammatory markers. Reducing inflammation will help with weight loss, acne, fertility, and even hair loss.

Where can I get Vitamin D from?

Few foods contain Vitamin D other than milk fortified with Vitamin D, eggs, liver, cereals with vitamin D added, and fatty fish.

Skin exposure to the sun provides as much as 80 to 90% of the body’s vitamin D. Just being outside in bright daylight for 15 minutes can provide approximately 10,000 IU! Using sunscreen and being indoors can prevent the absorption of vitamin D as can living in northern locations that don’t get direct sunlight year-round.

The elderly and dark-skinned people may be at risk for a Vitamin D deficiency as melanin blocks the conversion of active Vitamin D in the skin.

Vitamin D, because it is a fat-soluble vitamin and may not be as bioavailable in high amounts of fat tissue. In fact, fat people may have as much as a 57% reduction in serum Vitamin D levels than thin individuals as bioavailability is reduced both by skin synthesis and gastrointestinal absorption.

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

The optimal amount of vitamin D for women with PCOS is unknown. Many researchers believe the current amount for Vitamin D is set too low at 600 International Units (IU) daily and should be increased. I recommend getting blood work done and those results should be checked by a clinician for you to get adequate dosing.

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