Role of Vitamin D in period regulation and PCOS
Dr. Saloni Manwani

Dr. Saloni Manwani

Feb 26PCOS

Role of Vitamin D in period regulation and PCOS

This article has been written by Vaibhavi Kodnani, a content writer at Proactive For Her.


Irregular periods and PCOS can affect a woman’s physical and emotional health. The hormonal imbalances can make it difficult for them to conceive and make them more susceptible to extreme mood swings. Research has found a link between these conditions and low Vitamin D levels in the body. Read on to understand about irregular periods, PCOS and why you should up your Vitamin D intake.


Understanding irregular periods

A 28 days menstrual cycle is considered normal. However, it can slightly vary for different women. Your periods will be considered irregular if:

  • The length of your menstrual cycle is more than 35 days
  • The length of your menstrual cycle is less than 21 days
  • You do not have a fixed period cycle


The causes of irregular periods

  • Hormonal factors: Menarche (onset of menses), menopause, breastfeeding, birth control like pills, injectables, patches, thyroid disorders, PCOS
  • Medical conditions: Fibroids, Endometriosis, Pelvic inflammatory disease, Tumors
  • Lifestyle factors: Extreme weight loss, Extreme weight gain, Emotional stress, eating disorders - anorexia and bulimia, endurance exercises - marathon running


The negative effects of irregular periods

Menstruation is crucial for a woman’s reproductive health. Irregularity in the period cycle can create many problems but generally, it depends on the cause of the irregular periods. However, most commonly it can lead to


  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Chronic pelvic pain (Long-standing lower belly pain)
  • Pelvic adhesions (Complications during pregnancy and any future surgeries)


Understanding PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is a complex hormonal disorder. On an average, around 1 in 5 Indian women are affected with this condition. It is not only the most common endocrine disorder affecting women but also one of the most misunderstood medical disorders.


A woman is diagnosed with PCOS if she has 2 of the following 3 conditions:

  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Excess androgens i.e. male hormones on a blood test or clinical manifestation of excess male hormones like acne and excess facial hair growth.
  • Polycystic ovaries - numerous small collections of fluid in the ovaries due to which ovaries fail to release an egg every month.


The causes of PCOS

The causes of PCOS are largely unknown. Some reasons could be:

  • Genetic factors
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Excess androgens or male hormones


The negative effects of PCOS

PCOS can lead to other issues like

  • Infertility
  • Sleep apnea (a sleep disorder in which there is disruption in breathing)
  • Metabolic syndrome (collection of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes)
  • Endometrial cancer (a cancer that begins in the uterus)
  • Depression


role of vitamin d in pcos

Understanding Vitamin D

Vitamin D is commonly known as the sunshine vitamin because our human body produces this type of vitamin naturally from sunlight exposure. You can also get Vitamin D through food sources and supplements. Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 are the two forms that are necessary for the human body.

It is essentially a group of fat-soluble vitamins, vital for absorption of calcium, phosphorus and magnesium in the body. It also facilitates the normal immune system function.


What is Vitamin D deficiency?


When the Vitamin D levels in your body are lower than the normal, it is known as Vitamin D deficiency. The normal range is between 30 -100 ng/ml. If the levels are less than 30 ng/ml, it suggests that your body is deficient in Vitamin D.


What are the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can negatively impact your health in many ways. Some of the common symptoms are

  • Pain in the bones
  • Low immunity
  • Fatigue
  • Body weakness
  • Mood swings
  • Obesity
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle pain or cramps


What are the causes of Vitamin D deficiency?

Vitamin D deficiency can occur because of various reasons.

  • Diseases: Cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease, Celiac disease and liver or kidney diseases that can impair your body's ability to synthesise Vitamin D.
  • Age: As people grow older, they become more prone to having Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Less exposure to sunlight: Individuals spending more time indoors and not getting enough exposure to sunlight every day are at a higher risk of becoming deficient.
  • Dark skin colour: Vitamin D deficiency is more common in individuals with dark skin.
  • Obesity
  • Bariatric surgery


Why is Vitamin D crucial for women?


Research suggests that women with low blood levels of Vitamin D have a higher risk of getting affected by several life-threatening health conditions in the later years of their life. These could include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. Vitamin D is also vital for period regulation.


Does Vitamin D affect hormones in females?

Vitamin D can influence many hormones in the female body - thyroid hormones and sex hormones like oestrogen and progesterone.

Researchers have also found that Vitamin D helps regulate adrenaline, norepinephrine and dopamine production in the brain. It also prevents the body from serotonin depletion. Therefore, low Vitamin D levels can significantly increase the risk of depression.

What is the relation between Vitamin D deficiency and irregular periods?

Various international studies demonstrate that women with irregular period cycles and cycles longer than 35 days usually have Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps in regulating the hormones affecting the ovarian functions. Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) is widely present across the female genital tract, especially in the ovaries. It could be one of the reasons why Vitamin D deficiency affects the period cycle.


Is Vitamin D deficiency a cause of PCOS?

Vitamin D plays a vital role in ovarian follicular development or egg maturation. Studies have found out that women affected with PCOS have decreased Vitamin D levels. The deficiency of this vitamin could also lead to the development of certain conditions which can eventually lead to PCOS. They include:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Lack or absence of regular ovulation
  • Excess androgens or male hormones in the body


How will Vitamin D help in period regulation?

Adequate calcium and Vitamin D levels will ensure timely egg maturation, essential for regular periods.


Why should you take Vitamin D if you have PCOS?

Adequate Vitamin D consumption through natural means and supplementation can be beneficial if you are diagnosed with PCOS. It can help in,

  • Regulation of menstrual cycle and ovulation
  • Improving insulin sensitivity
  • Improving fertility
  • Decreasing androgens or male hormones


What are the sources of Vitamin D?

The human skin is capable of naturally creating Vitamin D after receiving sunlight exposure. You must go for morning walks to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. 9 AM - 2 PM is the best time to get Vitamin D from the sun.

You can also get Vitamin D through food and supplements. Food sources include:

  • Oily and deep marine fish - salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Red meat
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified foods
  • Dietary supplements


How much Vitamin D do you need?

Bottom Line:

If you have irregular periods or PCOS, get your blood tests done to identify your Vitamin D levels. If you are deficient, visit a doctor and follow the necessary steps to improve the Vitamin D levels in your body. It may have a significant impact on your reproductive health as well as other body requirements.

Disclaimer : This information is educational and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before making any dietary changes or adding supplements.

ProactiveForHer is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer out-patient care, diagnostic services and programs for various health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. To know more on the sexual and reproductive health of women, visit