What Vitamins Do You Need While Menstruating?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Tip

The best vitamins to take during menstruation depend on your personal health needs. You can, however, benefit from omega-3s, B vitamins and vitamin D during menstruation regardless of whether or not you are usually depleted in these nutrients and require supplementation.

Popular Menstrual Supplements

Omega 3 fatty acids are a popular supplement lining the shelves of most health sections of grocery stores. And it just might be one of the right supplements to take during your period to ease any menstruation symptoms.

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These supplements have been said to relieve inflammation, which may reduce menstrual pain. However, these fatty acids have been known to increase bleeding, a particular concern for people taking blood thinner medications.

You may already be using vitamin E oil for your skin, but Penn State Health Center notes that oral vitamin E reduces menstrual pain in some women. Similar to omega-3s, though, vitamin E can increase bleeding, which can be a problem for people on blood thinners. It's always important when you start taking a new supplement to talk to your doctor first. Beyond the vitamin E's impact on blood thinner medications, there can be other contraindications.

Take Your B Vitamins

B vitamins are critical to your health, and you may have heard that you should be taking them for your menstruation. What's actually the case is that folate is crucial to the neural tube development of a fetus. Since this tube is created in the first eight weeks of pregnancy, it's vital for those planning to get pregnant to start taking this vitamin ahead of time. If you're taking contraceptives of some sort though, you shouldn't have to worry.

Anemia Related to Menstruation

While menstruation doesn't cause everyone to experience anemia, the two can be related. That's why some women may need iron supplementation as well. If you typically have heavy or prolonged periods, then your body may need to have its iron stores replenished. While you don't want to overload your system with iron, there are a few symptoms you can look out for to help indicate a deficiency.

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Anemia occurs when your body becomes chronically deficient in iron. Some of the symptoms of anemia are feeling fatigued and weak all of the time. If you find your face paling or your skin turning yellow and your hands and feet are cold all of the time, these may be symptoms as well. Some additional symptoms are dizziness, lightheadedness and headaches.

If you experience these symptoms in sync with your period, then it may be because your iron is dipping too low. The best thing to do is to consult with your doctor. She can perform the proper blood tests to determine what you need. These symptoms can be a sign of something else, and only proper testing can tell you for certain.

Vitamin D May Be Key

Vitamin D may very well have the most benefits for you when you're menstruating. At the very least, it's one of the most widely studied supplements for menstruation. Vitamin D is imperative for the absorption of calcium and can reduce inflammation. The inflammation reduction can help with pain relief, and the calcium absorption is good for your body.

Read more: 9 Ways to Help Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency

Supplements for Your Period

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Magnesium shows promise for its capacity to reduce menstrual pain. With additional studies, this effect can be better understood. Magnesium does have its downsides, though. Too much can cause diarrhea and lower your blood pressure.

If you're deficient in calcium, you very well will benefit from taking this supplement. As noted in the study from Health Promotion Perspectives, women who have premenstrual syndrome often are also deficient in calcium. Calcium citrate can help sustain muscle tone according to the Penn State Health Center, which may help to relieve menstrual cramps. However, additional studies are still needed to confirm this effect.

While there are vitamins that your body needs during menstruation, there are those vitamins you should not taking during your period, according to a study from the May 2015 issue of Frontiers in Nutrition. Too much vitamin K, along with fiber and protein, has been associated with menstrual irregularities. And while physical activity is healthy for you, overdoing it can exacerbate these issues as well.

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