Does Vitamin D actually have an effect on your pelvic floor function?
Recent health studies have shown that in women, the higher your vitamin D levels the lower your chance is of having a weak pelvic floor. Out of the women researched, nearly a quarter reported pelvic floor weakness and, regardless of age, those with incontinence had significantly lower vitamin D levels.1 On the hand, women over the age of 50 and didn’t have incontinence had a higher level of Vitamin D.
So how does vitamin D affect your pelvic floor?
Nutrition plays an important role in muscle function and for some time Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to poor muscle strength and loss of muscle mass. Vitamin D receptors are present in our muscles and therefore may have a direct effect on your pelvic floor muscles, so this is important information for those with incontinence.
Signs that you may have low vitamin D may include aching bones and excessive head sweating, however the only way to know for sure that you have low vitamin D is by having a blood test. Your body absorbs vitamin D from the sun, and it is likely we are not getting enough sunshine in the winter. Here are five ways to help with your Vitamin D intake through nutrition:
- Vitamin D supplements can help you get your daily dose. However it is important not to overdose on vitamin D and if you are unsure about how much you should be taking, speak to your doctor first.
- Cod liver oil assists in keeping your bones healthy and also containing not only essential omega 3 fatty acids, but also vitamin D.
- Eggs also contain some vitamin D and are a convenient way to keep topped up, as they can be incorporated in breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eggs have many health benefits; however moderate intake is advised as they are also high in cholesterol.
- Fish high in unsaturated fats such as salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna are also good sources of vitamin D.
- Some milk and juices may be fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin D has many health benefits but is also important in assisting in pelvic floor health. If you think a lack of Vitamin D is affecting you and your pelvic floor, we recommend you speak to your doctor to check if you’re deficient and how you can increase your intake.