Vitamin D and Calcium Supplement Do Not Improve Menopausal Symptoms
Women who took vitamin D and calcium supplements had the same number of menopausal symptoms as women who did not take the supplements, according to a study published today in Maturitas, the official journal of the European Menopause and Andropause Society.
For this study, researchers followed the women for an average of 5.7 years, from the mid-1990s to 2005, and asked them about more than 20 menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, emotional well-being, fatigue and sleep disturbances. All women in the study were menopausal, which is defined as not having had a period for over a year. While symptoms tend to be most acute in a woman’s early 50’s, they can last for more than a decade.
Study participants were enrolled via 40 clinical trial sites throughout the United States where they had yearly office visits and filled out extensive health questionnaires at the beginning and end of the study.
Half of the women took daily calcium/vitamin D supplements; the other half received placebo pills. Over the course of the study, women in the intervention experienced an average of 6.26 menopausal symptoms compared to an average of 6.32 symptoms for women who received the placebo pills. There were also no differences on overall measures of emotional well-being, fatigue and sleep disturbances between the two groups.
This study builds on earlier work by Dr. LeBlanc which found no significant connection between menopausal symptoms and low levels of vitamin D in women’s blood. That study was published in Menopause in 2014.
Dr. LeBlanc has conducted extensive research on vitamin D, including a study that found the potency of over-the-counter vitamin D can vary widely, and an evidence review for the US Preventive Services Task Force that examined screening for vitamin D deficiency.
In addition to Dr. LeBlanc, authors of the current study are: Nancy Perrin, PhD, from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon; Haley Hedlin, PhD, FeiFei Qin, MPH, Manisha Desai, PhD, and Marcia L. Stefanick, PhD, from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; Jean Wactawski-Wende, PhD, from the University of Buffalo in New York; JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts; Karen C. Johnson, MD, MPH, and Frances A. Tylavsky, DrPH, from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis; and Kamal Masaki, MD, from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu.
Funding for the study came from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. (HHSN268201100046C, HHSN268201100001C, HHSN268201100002C, HHSN268201100003C, HHSN268201100004C, and HHSN271201100004C)
About the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research
The Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, founded in 1964, is a nonprofit research institution dedicated to advancing knowledge to improve health. It has research sites in Portland, Oregon, and Honolulu. Visit kpchr.org for more information.
About Kaiser Permanente
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