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Highlight on Vitamin D: A Natural Ally in the Battle Against Endometriosis

Unveiling the Power of Vitamin D against Endometriosis

March 22, 2024 Nadera Mansouri-Attia

Endometriosis, a complex and often debilitating condition affecting millions of women globally, presents a significant challenge for both patients and healthcare providers. While conventional treatments aim to manage symptoms, emerging research suggests that harnessing the power of dietary supplements, particularly Vitamin D may be helpful.
Let’s explore the role of Vitamin D supplementation in addressing this condition and the evidence supporting its use.

Unveiling the Power of Vitamin D

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin classified as a steroid hormone, exists in two primary forms: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). While Vitamin D2 can be obtained through dietary sources, the majority of Vitamin D in the body is synthesized from sunlight exposure, primarily in the form of Vitamin D3. This essential nutrient plays a crucial role in various physiological processes, including bone health, immune function, and hormonal regulation.

Safety Considerations

Before delving into the benefits of Vitamin D supplementation, it’s essential to address safety concerns. When administered appropriately and with careful monitoring of Vitamin D levels, supplementation is generally safe. However, excessive levels of Vitamin D (>100 ng/mL) can lead to toxicity. Optimal Vitamin D levels typically fall within the range of 30-100 ng/mL, highlighting the importance of cautious dosing and regular monitoring.

Recommended Dosage and Benefits for Endometriosis

The recommended dosage of Vitamin D supplementation for individuals with endometriosis typically ranges from 2000 IU to 5000 IU per day, tailored to individual test results. This regimen aims to leverage Vitamin D’s therapeutic properties, which have been shown to:

Enhance Ovarian Function: Vitamin D stimulates the production of steroid hormones crucial for oocyte development and maturation, thereby supporting ovarian function.

Support Endometrial Receptivity: Adequate Vitamin D levels contribute to optimal endometrial receptivity, facilitating embryo implantation and supporting healthy pregnancies.

Mitigate Obstetrical Complications: Research suggests that Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of obstetrical complications such as pre-eclampsia, offering potential benefits for pregnant individuals with endometriosis.

Alleviate Inflammation: Vitamin D exhibits potent anti-inflammatory properties, which may help alleviate symptoms associated with endometriosis and related conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

Evidence-Based Insights

Several studies have shed light on the relationship between Vitamin D levels and endometriosis based on its antiproliferative, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-invasive properties (1). For instance, the Nurse Health Study (2), involving over 69,000 women, found that individuals in the higher concentration for Vitamin D had a 24% lower risk of endometriosis compared to those in the lower concentration. Other studies showed that Vitamin D level is negatively associated with the severity of the disease (3).

Moreover, another study (4) revealed compelling insights into the association between Vitamin D deficiency and endometriomas. The findings indicated that a significant proportion of women with ovarian endometriosis were deficient in Vitamin D. Furthermore, there was a correlation between Vitamin D levels and cyst sizes, with lower levels associated with larger cysts, even after adjusting for various risk factors.

Although, many in vitro and animal studies (5-6) show that Vitamin D induces the regression of endometriotic lesions, there is no evidence in human.
Nevertheless, Vitamin D may have a positive impact in reducing pelvic pain. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, consumption of vitamin D (50, 000 IU every 2 weeks for 12 weeks) has been shown to reduce pelvic pain via increased antioxidant capacity (7).

Conclusion: A Ray of Hope

Vitamin D supplementation holds promise as a natural ally in the management of endometriosis.
Further, by supporting ovarian function, enhancing endometrial receptivity, and mitigating inflammation, Vitamin D offers multifaceted benefits for women with endometriosis and their fertility.
With careful monitoring and personalized supplementation regimens, Vitamin D may help manage your symptoms and improve your fertility.

References

1- Kalaitzopoulos, D.R.; Lempesis, I.G.; Athanasaki, F.; Schizas, D.; Samartzis, E.P.; Kolibianakis, E.M.; Goulis, D.G. Association between vitamin D and endometriosis: A systematic review. Hormones 2020, 19, 109–121.

2-Harris HR, Chavarro JE, Malspeis S, Willett WC, Missmer SA. Dairy-food, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D intake and endometriosis: a prospective cohort study. Am J Epidemiol. 2013 Mar 1;177(5):420-30. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws247. Epub 2013 Feb 3. PMID: 23380045; PMCID: PMC3626048.

3-Qiu Y, Yuan S, Wang H. Vitamin D status in endometriosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2020 Jul;302(1):141-152. doi: 10.1007/s00404-020-05576-5. Epub 2020 May 19. PMID: 32430755.

4-Ciavattini A, Serri M, Delli Carpini G, Morini S, Clemente N. Ovarian endometriosis and vitamin D serum levels. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2017 Feb;33(2):164-167. doi: 10.1080/09513590.2016.1239254. Epub 2016 Nov 4. PMID: 27809683.

5-Abbas, M.A.; Taha, M.O.; Disi, A.M.; Shomaf, M. Regression of endometrial implants treated with vitamin D3 in a rat model of endometriosis. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2013, 715, 72–75.

5-Yildirim, B.; Guler, T.; Akbulut, M.; Oztekin, O.; Sariiz, G. 1-alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 regresses endometriotic implants in rats by inhibiting neovascularization and altering regulation of matrix metalloproteinase. Postgrad. Med. 2014, 126, 104–110.

7- Mehdizadehkashi A, Rokhgireh S, Tahermanesh K, Eslahi N, Minaeian S, Samimi M. The effect of vitamin D supplementation on clinical symptoms and metabolic profiles in patients with endometriosis. Gynecol Endocrinol. (2021) 37:640– doi: 10.1080/09513590.2021.1878138.