Single Dose Vitamin D Relieves Period Pain

I know many of you suffer from this month after month. I’ve been there and worn that T shirt, having really severe cramping right through life as a result of having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Lucky me. Thankfully, it is under control most of the time now unless I am having a food reaction to something when it then goes mad. Don’t let anyone tell you there is no link between intolerance and inflammation!

I know that Vitamin D is:

  1. A fantastic – and underestimated – anti-inflammatory
  2. Recommended for PCOS
  3. Crucial for balancing hormones
  4. An important part of my food allergy/intolerance protocol
  5. Massively deficient in most people, and
  6. Very rarely checked.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Anyway, I was interested to see a recent study report from Nutri where a group of women  had significant relief of severe period pain when given a single ultra-high dose of Vitamin D3 before the start of their period. My ears pricked up.

Here’s the summary first of all for you:

A remarkable new study has found that a single dose of vitamin D reduced period pain by 41% and eliminated the need for anti-inflammatory drugs.
A group of 40 women with primary dysmenorrhea and low vitamin D (under 45 ng/mL) were given either a single dose of vitamin D (300 000 IU of vitamin D3) 5 days before the start of their menstrual period or placebo (1). 
After 2 months pain scores had decreased by 41% in women taking vitamin D while there was no decrease in the placebo group. Further, no women in the vitamin D group reported needing anti-inflammatory drugs, while 40% in the placebo group took medication at least once. 
“To our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the effect of a single high dose of vitamin D in primary dysmenorrhea.” Commented the investigators. “Our data support the use of vitamin D3 in these patients, especially when exhibiting low levels of blood vitamin D, and allow these women to limit the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.


In an accompanying editorial it was noted …vitamin D supplementation may become an important new treatment option for women who experience menstrual pain disorders. And based on these findings it was suggested that women should obtain the recommended dietary allowance (RDI) of vitamin D and test blood levels if at risk for deficiency. 

However, the amount of vitamin D used in this study would equate to approximately 5000 IU daily, a safe intake (3) and significantly more that the heavily criticized RDI (4). 

Note that last bit where 5000iu per day is mentioned as an alternative. I don’t know how you would get hold of 300,000iu of Vitamin D (through your GP, although I suspect they would have a fit if you asked for it!) And anyway, I wouldn’t be happy to advise that level myself.

I reckon it might be a good idea to check your Vitamin D levels and take a regular dosage – here 5,000 is muted as a possible level but in effect it is guesswork without a test – and then perhaps try taking a much larger amount just before your period. I take 6-8,000 iu per day myself divided into 3 doses and I am certain it has had a good effect. I might try taking double that if needed for a couple of days the minute I feel any pain.

Incidentally, the other thing I find helps – besides the old-favourite hot water bottle – is this magnesium spray or a bath in magnesium flakes. Magnesium is another key nutrient to relieve muscle spasm and works well for IBS too. Just 5- 10 sprays on your abdomen can really help.

Good luck.

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