(HealthDay News) — Vitamin D and calcium supplements do not help ease the symptoms of menopause, according to study results published in Maturitas.
The research is part of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), and included 34,157 U.S. women aged 50 and 79 years. The women were followed for an average of nearly 6 years to track more than 20 menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, fatigue, sleep problems and emotional problems. Half of the women took daily vitamin D and calcium supplements while the others took placebo pills.
The average number of menopausal symptoms in both groups was the same — slightly more than six (6.32 in the placebo arm and 6.26 in the intervention arm). Also, both groups had similar scores on overall measures of sleep problems, fatigue and emotional well-being, according to the researchers.
“Our study suggests that women should not rely on vitamin D and calcium supplements to relieve menopausal symptoms, but there are important caveats,” lead author Erin LeBlanc, MD, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, said in a Kaiser news 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,” she noted. “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.”