Vitamin C & Menstruation

Oranges can provide a large amount of your daily vitamin C needs.

Menstruation is an important monthly occurrence for women who are of childbearing age, but who do not get pregnant during that month. The body naturally releases the egg if it has not been fertilized, which may cause mild fatigue or lethargy. But it should not cause excess pain, cramping or overly intense mood swings. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, extra vitamin C may be one helpful way to diminish them. Before you add extra vitamin C to your diet, check with your doctor.

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May Help Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a complication with menstruation where bits of uterine lining migrate out of the uterus and embed themselves in other abdominal tissues. This can be a very painful experience, as the the lining of the uterus thickens with blood during menstruation. In the Reader's Digest Association's book, "The Healing Power of Vitamins, Minerals, and Herbs," the authors recommend taking 1,000 mg of vitamin C three times a day, along with other supplements such as calcium and flaxseed oil, in order to help this condition.


May Help Cramps

Another way that vitamin C may affect menstruation is that it may help to ease cramps. According to Janet Zand, N.D., and Robert Rountree, M.D., in their book, "Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child," vitamin C is a mild anti-inflammatory that may decrease cramping. Zand recommends starting to take 250 mg of mineral ascorbate vitamin C with bioflavonoids five days before the expected onset of menstruation. Take this amount three times a day until cramping subsides.

Helps With Iron Absorption

Iron is often lost during menstruation, so it is important to absorb as much iron as possible during other times of the month. Kendra Bartleson, R.D., notes in her book, "The Everything Guide to Nutrition," that it is common for women of childbearing age to become iron-deficient, which can cause fatigue and weakness. A deficiency can also lead to anemia. Vitamin C helps with the absorption of iron, especially from plant sources, so eating fruits high in the vitamin or taking a supplement may be helpful for overall health.


Strengthen Blood Vessels

Another benefit vitamin C is generally known for is its ability to strengthen blood vessels. But this can go beyond benefiting the heart and circulatory system. According to Dr. Paul Barney in his book, "Doctor's Guide to Natural Medicine," vitamin C helps to strengthen the vessels and capillary walls in the uterine system, strengthening the reproductive system overall. He recommends a suggested dosage of 1,500 mg daily if suffering from menstrual disorders.