Can Calcium Help PCOS?
Taking calcium and vitamin D together may have some beneficial effects upon PCOS according to a number of studies. A 2016 study (1) tested a combination of vitamin (200IU), vitamin K (90 mcg) and calcium (500 mg) taken twice daily - or a placebo - in sixty women with PCOS who were vitamin D deficient.
After eight weeks of treatment supplementation was linked with a significant drop in levels of free testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), and significant increases in antioxidant levels (TAC). Levels of a key marker of oxidative stress, malondialdehyde (MDA), also dropped.
“Overall, vitamin D-K-calcium co-supplementation for 8 weeks among vitamin D-deficient women with PCOS had beneficial effects on serum DHEAS, free testosterone, plasma TAC, and MDA levels.”
An earlier study looked at how supplementation with calcium and vitamin D might influence other aspects of PCOS: glucose metabolism and lipid concentrations.
Women with PCOS who were diagnosed as being overweight or obese and who were vitamin D deficient were randomly assigned to receive either: calcium 1000 mg/day, vitamin D, 50,000 IU/week, calcium, 1000 mg/day plus vitamin D 50,000 IU/wk or a placebo.
Supplementing calcium and vitamin D together resulted in higher levels of vitamin D and decreased levels of serum insulin, homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) scores, and significantly improved quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) scores.
Co-supplementing calcium with vitamin D was also linked with significant decreases in serum triglycerides, and VLDL- cholesterol levels - that's the bad kind of cholesterol.
“In conclusion, calcium plus vitamin D supplementation for eight weeks among vitamin D deficient women with PCOS had beneficial effects on serum insulin levels, HOMA-IR, QUICKI, serum triglycerides and VLDL-cholesterol levels, but it did not affect FPG and other lipid profiles.”
Another study on the same treatment protocol found that a key marker of inflammation - C-reactive protein (HsCRP) - was also reduced with this treatment strategy along with levels of an important marker for oxidative stress - malondialdehyde (MDA).
Researchers also noted significant increases in the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) along with increases in levels of a key antioxidant glutathione.
“We found that calcium plus vitamin D co-supplementation for 8 weeks among overweight and vitamin D-deficient women with PCOS had beneficial effects on inflammatory factor and biomarkers of oxidative stress.”
If you have PCOS and your body tends toward being overweight or obese, there may be some merit to adding some calcium and vitamin K to your vitamin D supplements.
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This article is not intended to provide medical or dietetic advice for which you should consult a physician or dietician.
(1) Horm Metab Res. 2016 Jul;48(7):446-51. doi: 10.1055/s-0042-104060. Epub 2016 Apr 6.
The Effects of Vitamin D-K-Calcium Co-Supplementation on Endocrine, Inflammation, and Oxidative Stress Biomarkers in Vitamin D-Deficient Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Razavi M1, Jamilian M2, Karamali M3, Bahmani F4, Aghadavod E4, Asemi Z4.
(2) ClinNutr. 2015 Aug;34(4):586-92. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.09.015. Epub 2014 Oct 3.
Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation affects glucose metabolism and lipid concentrations in overweight and obese vitamin D deficient women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Asemi Z1, Foroozanfard F2, Hashemi T2, Bahmani F1, Jamilian M3, Esmaillzadeh A4.
(3) Clin ENdocrionol (Oxf). 2015 Dec;83(6):888-94. doi: 10.1111/cen.12840. Epub 2015 Jul 23. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation influences biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in overweight and vitamin D-deficient women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Foroozanfard F1, Jamilian M2, Bahmani F3, Talaee R4, Talaee N3, Hashemi T1, Nasri K2, Asemi Z3, Esmaillzadeh A5,6.
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