Some people tell us that low Vitamin D levels can exacerbate menopausal symptoms, but a new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society. Researchers analyzed the relationship between the blood levels of vitamin D and a number of menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, concentration, and forgetfulness in 530 women who participated in the calcium and vitamin D WHI trial. There was good reason to look for a link because other studies have implied some relationship.
For example, breast cancer patients with higher vitamin D levels have fewer hot flashes and other symptoms than women with lower levels. It is true that supplementing vitamin D can improve mood in other groups of people. The vitamin can protect against depletion of serotonin, which plays a role in regulating body heat. And vitamin D deficiency can result in muscle and joint pain. Furthermore, estrogen plays a role in activating vitamin D, meaning that the estrogen deficiency that comes with menopause could worsen any problems with vitamin D deficiency. The number of symptoms and vitamin D levels had a borderline significant relationship at first, but after the analysts adjusted for multiple comparisons, the association disappeared. And in looking at multiple comparisons, no individual menopause symptoms were significantly associated with vitamin D either.
"With so many women taking vitamin D supplements these days, it is good to know what it can and cannot do. In summary, it might be important to check your vitamin D levels to see if you're deficient. Taking vitamin D supplements might improve your mood and help with joint pain if you are deficient, but don't rely on vitamin D to make a drastic change in menopausal symptoms. The research shows no indication that vitamin D will help.