Vitamin D benefits in managing PCOS in women

Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”.[1] A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep,[2] and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.

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Vitamin D is a nutrient that may deliver multiple health benefits, including helping you manage PCOS. Read on to know more about it.

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS has become a common problem among women in the past few years. PCOS is considered to be caused by an imbalance in reproductive hormones which can lead to the formation of small cysts in either or both ovaries and also causes complications during pregnancy. Apart from this, irregular periods, excessive facial hair, heaviness in their voice, baldness, acne, mood swings, obesity, diabetes, depression and anxiety are some of the problems which PCOS can trigger. Hence, taking extra care of your health and diet if you have been diagnosed with the disease is essential. 

When it comes to a healthy PCOS diet, according to a study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information vitamin D may play a key role in helping some women seeking treatment for PCOS, including women who are planning for pregnancy. 

vitamin D benefits in PCOS
PCOS can show up differently in different women. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

To help us understand this better, we have Dr Surabhi Siddhartha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital Kharghar, Mumbai. 

Benefits of vitamin D in managing PCOS:

If you are deficient in vitamin D, your body can make your bones weak and can lead to bone deformities. In children, the deficiency can lead to rickets and in adults, it can lead to osteomalacia which causes bone pain and tenderness. But vitamin D is not only essential for building strong bones or fighting infections. According to Dr Siddhartha, it also plays a pivotal role in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 

“You will be shocked to know that the majority of women with PCOS may be diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. Yes, that’s right! Being deficient in vitamin D can trigger PCOS symptoms,” says Dr Siddhartha. Various studies suggest that without sufficient vitamin D, women will not be able to produce normal, mature eggs, and conceive too, she adds. 

And if you take an appropriate amount of vitamin D, conditions such as insulin, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels improve in overweight women with PCOS. 

Keep your vitamin D level up – here’s how

  • Sitting under the morning sun without any sunscreen on for 15 to 20 minutes is sufficient for Indians to stock up on vitamin D reserves. 
  • If you must eat to get some vitamin D, then include foods that are rich in this vitamin in your diet. Some of these foods are mushrooms, fortified foods like milk, orange juice, eggs, cereals, yoghurt, and fatty fishes like salmon and tuna. 
  • Effective metabolization (process for creating energy in our energy) of vitamin D requires us to refrain from activities such as smoking and drinking. In addition, exercising after and has a significant impact on vitamin D production in our bodies. 
vitamin D benefits in PCOS
Don’t let yourself run short on the sunshine vitamin! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Moreover, follow these diet and lifestyle tips to manage PCOS

If you have PCOS, focus on eating a well-balanced diet. You will have to include:

  • Fresh fruits PCOS,and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans
  • Lentils  
  • Opt for good fats found in nuts and ghee, sunflower seeds, and even sesame

Also, read: Have PCOS? Munching on these 5 seeds may help

Avoid foods such as:

  • Processed, junk, oily, and canned foods
  • You will have to cut down on pizza, pasta, burger, namkeens, samosa, chips, and candies
  • Do not eat any ready-to-eat foods

Indulge in exercise

Dr Siddhartha says, “Exercise is also essential to enhance overall well-being and keep blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels in check. Women with PCOS can do any activities of their choice. Exercise should include cardio 3 times a week.”

vitamin D benefits in PCOS
Yes, you can manage PCOS with regular physical activity. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You will have to sleep for at least 8 hours every day to restore your health and maintain optimum hormonal levels.

So, you see, vitamin D is quite an important nutrient for your overall health and more so for managing PCOS. Make sure you get the daily required dose of vitamin D!

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