The Archives of Internal Medicine produced a research paper in February that may be helpful in assisting women who suffer from dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation.
Dysmenorrhea is one of the most common gynaecologic complaints in young women.
It is estimated that it affects approximately 40 to 70 per cent of women of reproductive age. Ten per cent of women describe their pain as disabling and severe.
Dr. Antonio Lasko, of the department of Internal Medicine at the University of Messina, Italy, found that single high doses of vitamin D greatly reduce the amount of menstrual pain experienced and reduce the need for pain medication for up to two months.
It is believed that the pain experienced during dysmenorrhea is triggered by excessive production of prostaglandins made from omega 6 fatty acids.
Unfortunately, omega 6 fatty acids are abundant in our North American diet.
It is believed that vitamin D acts as a potent anti-inflammatory and may reduce the production of arachadonic acid which will then produce excess prostaglandins causing inflammation, and therefore pain.
Essentially, vitamin D will stop the formation of excessive prostaglandins.
The sample study included 40 women between the ages of 18 and 40 years of age who had experienced painful menstruation four times in the previous six months and had a low serum level of vitamin D.
They were allowed to use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs but they had to record how much and whether or not they used them during menstruation.
The study group was broken into two groups, one receiving 300,000 IUs of vitamin D and the other half receiving a placebo.
The vitamin D was given five days prior to the time that they expected menstruation to commence.
His findings were most interesting. He found that the vitamin D group reported a 41per dent reduction in their pain while the placebo group reported no reduction in pain whatsoever.
Interestingly enough, the vitamin D group did not report taking any pain medication during their menstrual cycle.
The placebo group reported taking their nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories at least once.
It is important to point out that this large dose of vitamin D was given once and not to be taken daily.
Too much of a good thing can be bad for you.
The literature reports the daily use of this sort of dosage can produce a state called hypercalcemia, among other things.
It is my opinion that vitamin D is being underutilized especially by those of us in northern climates where exposure to sun is reduced.
It is estimated that 75 per cent of North Americans are vitamin D deficient. In fact, vitamin D deficiencies will lead to a significant increase in frequency of colds and flus, cardiovascular disease in conjunction with inflammatory diseases and cancer. Is it any wonder that the highest incidence of colds and flus are where we have the least amount of sunlight?
There is a significant body of research that proves that vitamin D supplementation to optimum levels profoundly decreased the incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease in addition to osteoporosis.
Deficiencies in this most important vitamin will also lead to increases in blood pressure, muscle weakness and pain, depression and lethargy.
When one studies the human genome, 10 per cent of the entire genome relies on vitamin D for its proper manufacturing.
There is no other substance that has this much of a profound effect on our genes in this proportion.
Be sure to consult with your health practitioner prior to initiating such a therapy as high dosage vitamin D supplementation. That being said, I think it’s use is being grossly under appreciated and managing overall health and chronic pain.