Updated: Sep 8
Menstrual cramps can be a debilitating problem, could the dynamic duo of Magnesium and Vitamin D help some women find relief?
Many women experience painful cramping associated with their menstrual cycle that can significantly affect their quality of life. According to Women's Health Concern, up to 10% of women have pain that is severe enough to affect their daily lives. Do you have severe pain with your cycle? Does a friend or loved one suffer from menstrual pain or painful cramps (often called Dysmenorrhea)?
Can Vitamin D and Magnesium help women avoid menstrual pain?
In this article, we'll explore several studies regarding this topic. Let's first focus on magnesium. It is well understood that magnesium plays a crucial role in muscle relaxation, so it makes sense that magnesium could provide relief from the muscle cramps associated with menstruation. But, let's see if there's any research specifically addressing this.
A study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research in 2010 found that taking magnesium decreased symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Interestingly, the participants that took magnesium and Vitamin B6 together had the best results.
A study published in 2002 in the journal Headache found a correlation between magnesium deficiency and menstrual migraine. We know that correlation doesn't prove causation, but the authors suggested that this relationship between low magnesium and the development of menstrual migraine was important.
The first study mentioned above is over a decade old and the second study was published over 20 years ago, which begs the question: "Why don't more women know about this!?".
What about Vitamin D? A very recent May 2023 article published in the journal Nutrients reveals that Vitamin D may relieve menstrual cramping. This article was actually a systematic review and meta-analysis, which means that they actually reviewed data from nine previously published studies. The authors concluded that for women who had Dysmenorrhea and Vitamin D deficiency, taking a dosage of 50,000 IU Vitamin D per week significantly reduced pain associated with their period.
Vitamin D is a form of a hormone produced from cholesterol that has been shown to be important in the body's normalizing and reducing inflammation. This may give us clues to the mechanism by which Vitamin D could reduce menstrual pain.
We've written previous blog posts here discussing the synergistic relationship between Magnesium and Vitamin D. You can read HERE about how these two nutrients help pediatric brain health. We even have an entire mini-course about the importance of Magnesium and Vitamin D in helping with the current epidemic of anxiety and depression in teenagers.
Now, with the studies specifically addressing menstrual pain and cramping, we have even more evidence that Magnesium and Vitamin D are a dynamic duo.