PCOS And Vitamin D

More Than 40 Percent Of Americans Are Vitamin D Deficient

The controversy over sun tanning seems to have quieted as more evidence arises confirming the fact that more than 40 percent of Americans are Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is a key vitamin that is available in only a few foods, such as cod-liver oil, oily fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines) and dairy products that have been fortified with Vitamin D. The very best place to get it is directly from the source. Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it is produced in the skin after exposure to sunlight.

The Power Of The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D plays an integral part in women's health, especially women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Research indicates that Vitamin D deficiency frequently occurs in women with PCOS, and the lack of Vitamin D may be a contributing factor to some of the abnormal biochemical conditions seen in PCOS. Vitamin D is important for improving fertility, breast health, nervous system health, and weight control. Insulin resistance is reduced when optimal levels of Vitamin D are sustained and bone loss and osteoporosis are kept at bay. Everyone seems to receive a mood-lift when the sun is shining. Vitamin D helps to improve mental outlook as well as cognitive performance. The list goes on.

Women with PCOS are more susceptible to obesity, insulin resistance, and abnormal menstrual cycles. They also struggle more with infertility than women without the disease do. The information that low Vitamin D levels are linked to these conditions is important news because the heavier a woman is, and the more insulin-resistant she is, the greater the chances of her being deficient in this vitamin. Women with PCOS who have been treated with Vitamin D have experienced normalization of their menstrual cycles and some have conceived a pregnancy.

Vitamin D, Insulin Resistance And Weight Gain

It is possible that Vitamin D will help prevent diabetes and metabolic syndrome, which are disorders associated with insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetics commonly suffer from Vitamin D deficiency and when they receive supplementation, there is a marked improvement in glucose tolerance, insulin secretion, and insulin sensitivity. Metabolic syndrome shares many of the attributes of PCOS, such as high blood pressure, elevated triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol, and abdominal obesity. All of these are risk factors for heart disease and women with PCOS are prime candidates to develop diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Getting Enough "D"

To achieve adequate levels of Vitamin D, all it takes is ten to fifteen minutes exposure to the sun of the arms, face, and hands. If exposure to direct sunlight is not obtainable, then a Vitamin D supplement is recommended. Supplementation is suggested for those people living in Northern climates, or areas where there is a lack of sun, as well as those who do not go outdoors often. Sunscreen users, people who go out-of-doors fully clothed, and vegans, should also take a Vitamin D supplement in order to maintain optimal levels of this very important vitamin.

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