A study published in Maturitas is suggesting that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D does not really alleviate or manage the symptoms of the menopause as has been suggested from previous studies.
The research is part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), and included over 34 thousand U.S. women aged between 50 and 79 years. The women were followed for an average of nearly 6 years where 20 menopausal symptoms were assessed. These covered hot flushes, fatigue, sleep problems and emotional imbalances. Half of the women took daily vitamin D and calcium supplements while the others were on placebo pills.
The average number of menopausal symptoms in both groups was the same which was just slightly more than six (6.32 in the placebo group and 6.26 in the intervention group). Also, both groups had similar scores on overall measures of sleep problems, fatigue and emotional well-being. Essentially, there was no difference between the two groups of women taking supplements or the placebo.
The lead author, Erin LeBlanc, MD, an investigator for the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, stated in their hospital’s news release,
“Our study suggests that women should not rely on vitamin D and calcium supplements to relieve menopausal symptoms, but there are important caveats.”
“The average age of the women at the start of our study was 64, but the average age of menopause is 51, and it’s around that time that the most severe symptoms usually occur,” she noted.” If we want to understand vitamin D’s effects on the most severe symptoms of menopause, then a study would need to be conducted with younger women.”
LeBlanc, E.S. et al. (2015) Maturitas. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2015.04.007.