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Do Vitamins Throw Off Your Period?-surprisingly only 1 does

 

If you are struggling with an irregular period or have just had one period thrown off for some reason, and you are looking for some answers, you may have asked yourself, do vitamins throw off your period?

As a general rule, the only vitamin that can throw your period off is a lack of vitamin D. There is no good evidence for a lack of other vitamins or an excess of any vitamins altering the timing of menstruation.

Let us look at vitamins and how they may affect your menstrual cycle; also, if they do affect your menstrual cycle, which vitamins will most likely affect your period?

Could Vitamins Throw Off Your Period?

Vitamins can play a role in your menstrual cycle in various ways. However, there is only one vitamin for which there is good evidence of a vitamin altering its timing, and that is when there is a deficiency of vitamin D.

So that means that vitamins will not throw off your period, but if you are deficient in vitamin D then supplementation will actually help.

Regular Periods

When your body and hormones are given the proper support that they need through nutrition, vitamins, and minerals, your body will generally have a normal and regular menstrual cycle.

A cycle that lasts between 28 to 35 days from the first day that your period starts until the day before your period is due to start again is considered a normal menstrual cycle. There is a little more variability before the age of 20 years old and in women over 40.

When your body is not getting all of the nutrients and vitamins that it needs, then your period can be affected by this.

You can either get irregular periods, where your periods do not have a regular timeline for when they will start, how long they will last, or when they will finish. Or you can have a complete lack of a period, where you can go for months or longer between your cycles; this is known as amenorrhea.

Do Vitamins Throw Off Your Period young woman in bed

Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is a condition where you have a complete lack of a period; you may only get your period every four months or even only once a year. Some women will not have a menstrual cycle at all.

Amenorrhea is not caused by the same issue in all women; some women are battling diseases such as endometriosis and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and they do not have a period because of that.

If you experience either amenorrhea or irregular periods, you should seek the advice of your health care practitioner.

What Vitamins Could Throw Off Your Period?

So what vitamins supplement might throw off your period? Or which vitamin defficiency, could throw off your period?

Surprisingly, there is only one vitamin that will throw off your period-

Vitamin D Defficiency

In one observational study 77 students were assessed for vitamin D levels and menstrual cycle abnormalities. Results are presented in this table –

Menstrual StatusLow Vitamin D Group (<30ng/ml) Normal Vitamin D Group (>=30ng/ml)
Long Cycles40%12%
Oligomenorrhoea27%6%
Amenorrhoea13%6%

As you can see menstrual cycle abnormalities were much more common in the low vitamin D group.

Vitamin D is made by the skin in response to sunlight as well as being found in some foods. So at latitudes greater than 50°, where sunlight is less intense, it is common to become vitamin D deficient in the winter, when the sunlight is weaker. At lower latitudes where the sunlight intensity is adequate for Vitamin D production even in winter this is not such a problem as it only takes 20 minutes or slightly more in bright sunlight to produce enough vitamin D. This would also apply to people at all latitudes who spend essentially all their time inside.

With any menstrual abnormality, it would be wise to consult your physician and also have a vitamin D level checked.

B Vitamins-although they affect premenstrual symptoms there is no evidence of an effect on menstrual period

Vitamin B6 helps with premenstrual symptoms but only depression, irritability and tiredness. In another study menstrual pain was also decreased 45% by vitamin B6 supplementation.

However there is no evidence that riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B-12 influence the ovarian cycle function among premenopausal women.

B6 is needed for the conjugation (destruction) of estrogen in the liver, so if vitamin B6 levels are deficient, the estrogen level rises (see reference Shils ME below). However, I found no scientific papers documenting that vitamin B6 can throw off your period.

Vitamin E-can alter discomfort/menstrual cramps of a period but not its timing

Vitamin E has been shown to be helpful in reducing the discomfort during menstrual periods, but there is no evidence of it altering the timing of periods.

You will have heard of taking an iron supplement but this does not alter the timing of your period, it simply replaces the iron that is lost from the body with menstrual bleeding and prevents iron deficiency.

Conclusion

Taking vitamins will generally not throw off your period, but a lack of vitamin D can do so. Hence, if you have delayed, irregular or absent periods, you should seek a medical appointment and probably have a vitamin D blood test amongst other tests.

I found it quite surprising that searching the scientific literature, there was no good evidence that other vitamins could throw off the timing of your period.

 

References

14 possible causes for irregular periods

Shils ME, Olson JA, Shike M, editors. Modern Nutrition in Health and
Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger; 1994

Other references are in the text as hyperlinks

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