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Vitamin D for Menstrual Cramps

Women who suffer painful menstrual cramps might get relief from vitamin D3. Italian physicians recruited 40 women with dysmenorrhea to take either a very large dose of vitamin D3 or a placebo. The women had low levels of vitamin D in their bodies at the outset, and those with the lowest levels reported the greatest amount of menstrual discomfort.
Two months after taking 300,000 IU of vitamin D, women rated their pain as significantly lower and they did not need to take pain relievers for their periods. Those who had gotten the placebo were less likely to report a reduction in pain and many were still taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen or naproxen. Experts are cautious about the results, however. The study was small and the dose of vitamin D is so high that there may be unanticipated risks. They recommend that women stick with doses such as 1,000 to 2,000 IU a day until further research has been completed.

[Archives of Internal Medicine, Feb. 27, 2012]

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies..
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