The two main female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, play essential roles in reproduction, a woman's development, as well as her fertility throughout life. These hormones interact not only with female reproductive organs, but also with other tissues throughout a body to help maintain a woman's health. Vitamin D can complement the function of some female hormones and these vitamin-hormone interactions may play a beneficial role in preventing disease.
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Importance in Breast Cancer
Some cases of breast cancer develop because of an imbalance in female hormones, which can lead to abnormal breast development. Normally, the hormones estrogen and progesterone control breast growth, and variations in the levels of these hormones allow for cycles of growth during to each menstrual cycle. Abnormal estrogen or progesterone function can promote breast cancer development. A study published in "Cancer Causes & Control" in March, 2010 indicates that vitamin D can help balance the levels of estrogen and progesterone in young women and help prevent a hormonal imbalance that might promote breast cancer.
Effect on Menopause
Vitamin D's effect on female hormones may also prove important for women entering menopause. At the onset of menopause, women naturally experience a hormone imbalance characterized by low estrogen levels, since the ovaries cease to produce the hormone. Many women correct this imbalance by receiving hormone therapy, which increases the level of estrogen in the bloodstream. Vitamin D can complement estrogen therapy in menopausal women and help prevent bone loss that can occur as a result of a low estrogen.
Role in Nervous System Health
Vitamin D can also benefit neurons, or nerves. Maintaining a proper balance of female hormones proves important to the health of your brain, since both estrogen and progesterone play important roles in maintaining brain function. Progesterone helps protect neurons from toxicity due to an overstimulation of brain cells. A study published in "Molecular Medicine" in June, 2009 indicates that vitamin D supports progesterone in protecting brain cells. By helping maintain a proper balance of progesterone functioning within your brain, vitamin D might help prevent or treat some forms of brain damage.
Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D can prove important to regulating the levels of female hormones in a woman's body -- potentially helping to prevent a hormonal imbalance -- and also supporting the natural functions of those hormones in preventing disease. If you currently suffer from a hormonal imbalance, talk to your doctor about the possibility of a vitamin D deficiency, or the potential benefit of vitamin supplements to help increase your body's vitamin D levels. Never take vitamin D supplements to correct a hormonal imbalance without consulting your doctor. Hormonal imbalances require medical attention to identify and treat the underlying cause of the imbalance.
- Cancer Causes & Control; Vitamin D Association with Estradiol and Progesterone in Young Women; J.A. Knight et al.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Possible Interactions with Vitamin D
- Molecular Medicine; Progesterone With Vitamin D Affords Better Neuroprotection Against Excitotoxicity In Cultured Cortical Neurons Than Progesterone Alone; F. Atif et al.