PCOS and Acne – Can Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements Help?

calcium and vitamin d in pcos and acneThere may be a role for calcium and vitamin D in PCOS and acne. Both of these nutrients play a role in metabolism, immune function, skin health, bone health and muscle function. Vitamin D helps facilitate calcium absorption and use in the body.

One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial looked at the effects of combined supplementation in 104 overweight vitamin D-deficient women (18-40 years) diagnosed with PCOS (Foroozanfard et al., 2015). The women were divided into four groups as follows:

  • A – 1000 mg of calcium daily / vitamin D placebo weekly
  • B – calcium placebo daily / 50000 IU of vitamin D weekly
  • C – 1000 mg of calcium daily / 50000 IU of vitamin D weekly
  • D – calcium placebo daily / vitamin D placebo weekly.

The women underwent tests for inflammatory factors and biomarkers of oxidative stress before and after 8 weeks of the intervention.

Calcium and vitamin D in PCOS and Acne

After 8 weeks, women who took both calcium and vitamin D had greater decreases in homoeostatic model assessment beta-cell function (HOMA-B) score. HOMA-B is a test of insulin resistance. The women also had decreases in serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP – a sign of inflammation). The calcium and vitamin D group also had decreases in plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations. MDA is a sign of oxidative stress.

The calcium plus vitamin D group also had significant increases in plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC) and levels of glutathione (GSH), which is a key antioxidant. These improvements were greater than for the women taking calcium alone, vitamin D alone, or those taking the placebos.

Given the improvements in markers for oxidative stress and inflammation, and for insulin resistance, longer use of calcium and vitamin D may offer benefits for symptoms of PCOS, such as acne. Further study needs to be carried out to examine this hypothesis, however.