85% Of Women With PCOS Are Also Vitamin D Deficient — Here's Why
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that affects up to 20% of reproductive-aged women1 worldwide, according to a 2020 Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences review. Defined by abnormally high levels of hormones called androgens, PCOS is a generally misunderstood disorder that causes everything from menstrual irregularity to excess hair growth and acne.
While there are still many scientific unknowns regarding PCOS, evidence suggests that vitamin D status may have an influence on its symptoms. Additionally, vitamin D deficiency is common in patients, affecting up to 85% of the PCOS population2.
The connection between vitamin D and PCOS.
Science shows that low vitamin D levels (i.e., vitamin D deficiency) may play a part in exacerbating PCOS symptoms—including menstrual irregularity, infertility, obesity, hyperandrogenism, and insulin resistance. An essential vitamin that's widely underconsumed, vitamin D helps promote balanced insulin levels, hormonal health, healthy body composition, and so much more.
Some studies show a possible association between vitamin D receptor polymorphisms and PCOS3 as well, indicating that genetics may influence the relationship between PCOS and vitamin D status. Given vitamin D's critical functions in both the endocrine system and metabolism, it's no surprise that vitamin D status impacts PCOS to some degree.
How to achieve vitamin D sufficiency.
Whether you've been diagnosed with PCOS or not, ensuring your vitamin D status is sufficient [hint: the golden standard is a 25(OH)D serum level of 50 ng/ml or higher] can help support your hormonal, metabolic, and whole-body health. To achieve vitamin D sufficiency, the average person needs to consume 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (not D2) daily.
The problem? Getting adequate vitamin D from just food and safe sun exposure is practically impossible. A high-quality vitamin D supplement, however, can help you reach and maintain healthy vitamin D status effectively and efficiently.
Not sure what to look for in a quality vitamin D supplement? Check out mindbodygreen's top list of vetted vitamin D supplements—we've scoured the market for the best products for you.
Women of reproductive age with PCOS are up to 85% more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than women without PCOS. Reaching healthy vitamin D status supports hormonal balance and metabolic health—and taking a premium vitamin D supplement can help you reach and sustain vitamin D sufficiency.
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.