Findings from a long-term follow up study of more than 34,000 women have suggested that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D does not improve menopausal symptoms.
Writing in Maturitas, researchers said the findings come from part of the Women's Health Initiative - one of the largest clinical trials ever undertaken to address the most common causes of death, disability and impaired quality of life in menopausal women.
“We did not find that supplementation with 1000 mg of calcium plus 400 IU of vitamin D significantly influenced menopause-related symptoms over 5.7 years of follow-up,” wrote the authors – led by Dr Erin LeBlanc from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. “Our results do not suggest that menopausal women should take calcium plus vitamin D at these doses to improve vasomotor, mood, or sleep complaints.”
While LeBlanc said that women should not rely on vitamin D and calcium supplements to relieve menopausal symptoms, she did add that there are important caveats.
"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 commented. "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.”