Vitamin D and calcium failed to foil hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause according to new research. Menopause can plague women with years of hot flashes, mood changes, fatigue and sleep disturbances. While symptoms are often worse in a woman’s early 50’s, they can last for more than a decade.
Researchers found that women who took the supplement combo had the same number of symptoms of women who took the placebo. The study, involving 34,157 women ages 50-79, is part of the Women’s Health Initiative, one of the biggest clinical trials ever conducted to address the most common causes of death, disability and impaired quality of life in menopausal women.
"Our study suggests that women should not rely on vitamin D and calcium supplements to relieve menopausal symptoms, but there are important caveats," Erin S. LeBlanc, MD, MPH, lead author and investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, said in a Kaiser release. "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.”
Maturitas, the official journal of the European Menopause and Andropause Society, published the results of the study, which were also noted on Medicalxpress.com.
For the study, scientists followed the menopausal subjects for an average of 5.7 years, tracking more then 20 menopausal symptoms. Half the women took daily calcium/vitamin D supps, the other took placebos. The women who took the supps experienced an average of 6.26 menopausal symptoms compared to an average of 6.32 symptoms felt by women who took the placebos. The researchers noted to differences in the overall measured of emotional well-being, fatigue, and sleep disturbances between the two groups.
Le Blanc, who has conducted extensive research on vitamin D, recommends further study. "If we want to understand vitamin D's effects on the most severe symptoms of menopause, we need to do a study in younger women," added LeBlanc.
In the meantime, another recent study suggests black cohosh, an herb long used to soothe these symptoms by practitioners of Chinese medicine to Native American healers, makes menopause less miserable.