Can Vitamin D help period cramps?

Can Vitamin D Help Get Rid of Period Cramps?

3 min read

If you have a uterus and a period, chances are you’re familiar with period cramps. More than half of women—up to 95%—experience menstrual-cramp pain for a day or two during their cycle. When they’re not-so-bad, they’re an inconvenience, but when they’re bad? Period cramps can be debilitating, disrupting daily life and resulting in absences from school and work—not to mention your overall well-being and quality of life taking a hit. It’s no wonder that we all want to know what to do to get rid of period cramps. 

What are period cramps?

Medically termed dysmenorrhea, period cramps involve throbbing or cramping in the lower abdomen. Whether it is before or during their menstrual periods, women who menstruate typically experience pain for 1 to 2 days per month. 

Why do we get period cramps?

During your period, the uterus contracts to shed its endometrium through the cervix. The contraction is what causes the painful cramping, and it’s triggered by a hormone-like substance called prostaglandins, which is also responsible for inducing labour and stimulating ovulation. 

Can Vitamin D help get rid of period cramps?

Traditionally, you’ve probably been told to use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications like Advil and Tylenol, as well as oral contraceptives (A.K.A. the birth control pill) to manage period pain. These medications work to alleviate menstrual pain by reducing the levels of prostaglandins making menstrual cramps less severe. But, not everyone wants to take Tylenol every day and many are looking for alternatives to pain medication—and growing research suggests that Vitamin D can help.

A 2024 systematic review and meta-analysis of 11 clinical trials examined the effectiveness of Vitamin D supplementation in reducing period cramp pain and using analgesic medications like Advil and Tylenol. Across the studies, Vitamin D intake significantly decreased the intensity of period cramp pain leading to a reduced need for painkillers. Keep in mind that the Vitamin D dose studied was high—from 10,000 to 50,000 IU per day—for months at a time, or taken daily about a week before an expected period. Unless recommended by a doctor, exceeding 10,000 IU per day has been linked to Vitamin D toxicity, resulting in symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and muscle weakness. If you’re considering taking Vitamin D as a remedy for your period pain, consult with your doctor to understand the dosage that is right for you—and don’t exceed the recommended amount on your over-the-counter supplements before doing so. 

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin (it’s absorbed along with fats and stored in the body’s fatty tissue and liver). Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight and from eating foods (like fish and seafood). In addition to its lengthy list of benefits (including improving immune system function, reducing inflammation, and fertility benefits), the evidence suggests that Vitamin D can help to alleviate period cramp pain. It does this by suppressing prostaglandin production (similar to other previous methods of managing period pain like the birth control pill), a contributing factor to the period cramps we experience.

Can Low Vitamin D Affect Fertility? 

Pro tip: Pair your Vitamin D with Calcium

Calcium plays a role in regulating muscle response to nerve stimulation and can help reduce muscle cramping. A decrease in Calcium levels can lead to muscle spasms and contractions—yes, even menstrual contractions or period cramps—and getting enough Calcium can reduce the severity of cramp pain. While the dosage suggestions vary, increasing your consumption of dairy products that are rich in calcium can help: another study found that a daily dosage of 1,000 mg ould effectively reduce period pain intensity. Why pair Vitamin D and Calcium together? Vitamin D and Calcium can both help reduce period pain and when taken together, max out their benefits thanks to increased absorption. 

Bird&Be Calcium + Magnesium + Vitamin D Boost pairs these two wonder workers together (along with Magnesium which can help with better sleep and keeping cortisol under control), and can be taken alone or with any other Bird&Be supplements to top up your daily intake of these vital nutrients.