Vitamin D and menopause—A narrative review

  • Elisabeth Lerchbaum
    Correspondence to: Medical University of Graz, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Auenbruggerplatz 15, 8036 Graz, Austria. Tel.: +43 316 385 12383; fax: +43 316 385 13428.
    Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medical University of Graz, Auenbruggerplatz 15, 8036 Graz, Austria
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      There is accumulating evidence that vitamin D (VD) has important effects besides its well-known role in calcium and bone metabolism. Hypovitaminosis D is associated with cardiovascular disease, the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cancer as well as with increased mortality. Further, VD deficiency is related to depression and impaired cognitive function. Increasing age and elevated body fat mass contribute to an increased risk of VD deficiency. Further, some studies report a relationship between VD and estrogen metabolism.
      During menopause, the decline of estrogens results in increased bone turnover, a decrease in bone mineral density and elevated fracture risk. Musculoskeletal discomfort might impair quality of life, mood disturbances do frequently occur and the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease increases. Moreover, body composition changes including increased fat mass and decreased lean mass, which results in an increased risk of VD deficiency. Conversely, VD deficiency might aggravate discomfort as well as diseases that occur during menopause.
      There are precise recommendations regarding a sufficient VD intake in order to prevent bone loss in peri- and postmenopausal women. Considering the fact that VD deficiency and menopause share risk factors beyond bone health such as cardiovascular, metabolic, cognitive and affective disorders, a sufficient VD status should be obtained in all peri- and postmenopausal women. This might be beneficial not only considering bone health but also regarding cognitive, affective, metabolic and cardiovascular health of women.


      1,25(OH)2D3 (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D), BMD (bone mineral density), CaD (calcium/vitamin D), β-CTX (beta-crosslaps), HRT (hormone replacement therapy), LDL-C (low density lipoprotein cholesterol), MetS (metabolic syndrome), OC (osteocalcin), PTH (parathyroid hormone), QoL (quality of life), RCT (randomized-controlled trial), SHBG (sexual-hormone binding globulin), VD (vitamin D), VDR (vitamin D receptor), VMS (vasomotor signs), WHI (Women's Health Initiative)


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