Red Light Therapy Improves Female Reproductive Problems

Red light may help female reproductive problems: Vitamin D, in the form of calcitriol, is a hormone which effects many systems in the body, including the reproductive system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many obstetric and gynecological problems (64) including fertility impairment, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Vitamin deficiency and insufficiency (a milder form of deficiency) contributes to sexual dysfunction. It is also implicit in vaginal dryness, infections, low sex drive, and thinning of the uterus.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to hormonal imbalances, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This is important as 85% to 90% of premenopausal women report experiencing PMS symptoms (physical or emotional) regularly (65). Of these women, up to 20% have symptoms that meet the clinical definition of PMS. And, up to 8% of premenopausal women may meet the clinical criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is associated with an inability to carry out the everyday functions of life (65). Further, treatment with vitamin D has been show to regulate irregular menstrual periods and to improve ovulation. This may be of help for women who have poly cystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS (66).

Regarding vaginal dryness, vitamin D, in the form of a vaginal suppository, can help treat vaginal dryness, thicken vaginal skin and improve vaginal pH balance. After 8 weeks of treatment of this type vaginal pain, during sex or when the tissue is touched, should be reduced. The color of the tissue should improve (become pinker). And, the vagina should be moister (67).

Vitamin D may help to prevent and treat urinary tract infections and vaginosis. It helps to improve immunity in two ways. We have what is called an innate immune system and an adaptive immune system. The first one reacts to all threats (bacteria) in the same way, the second one responds to a threat (viral) it has faced before by adapting a specific response to it (68). A lack of vitamin D is associated with reduced functioning of both types of immunity, so vitamin D may prevent, and helps to treat, urinary tract infections in this way.

It also helps protect against bacterial vaginal infections (BV or vaginosis). Here vitamin D regulates the production and function of antimicrobial defense molecules that protect the female body from invasive bacterial infection. This is important as up to 1 in 3 women may have such an infection at some point. This is due to normal vaginal flora, good bacteria, being overtaken by bad bacteria. Bacterial vaginosis is linked to increased risk of sexually transmitted disease, preterm deliveries and HIV infection (69). Other nutrient deficiencies linked to BV are zinc, vitamin A and iron. HPV is also linked to low zinc. Low vitamin D contributes to cervical erosion as it may be necessary to form healthy cells.

Red light may improve libido. Red light treats hypothyroidism, which is known to cause low sex drive (81). Further, a lack of adequate vitamin D levels (improved with light therapy) has been found to negatively affect sexual desire in women (70). This may partially be due to vitamin D’s effect on blood flow, including that in the sex organs. Here vitamin D receptors in blood vessels respond to the vitamin by being more elastic, by working better (71). If your sex organs are not getting enough blood they will not work optimally. Sex drive is also based in hormonal health.

If your reproductive hormones, necessary for sexual desire, are out of balance it can cause low libido or sex drive. Vitamin D is implicit in the production of testosterone and estrogen. Women do make and need testosterone, if they lack it their sex drive goes down. Similarly, low estrogen can also affect desire (64). Vitamin D is also needed for the nervous system to work properly, so a person can feel, get excited, and experience the sexual act to its upmost. It is also needed for the production of neurotransmitters, those happy chemicals in the brain which create an organismic feeling 71 (71). So, as well as affecting the desire to have sex, vitamin D deficiency can affect the ability to reach orgasm, sexual satisfaction overall, and sexual functioning in general. Further, sexual pleasure may be impaired when the sex organs are painful due to vaginal dryness or cervical erosion. Both conditions are impacted by vitamin D deficiency.

Regarding PMS, lower levels of vitamin D circulating in a woman’s blood, (that which the body makes from the sun, food and supplements, called plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 250 HD), is associated with PMS, with a higher risk of experiencing symptoms the greater the deficiency (59). In this case vitamin D is associated with specific symptoms: breast tenderness, fatigue, depression, and swelling of feet and hands, bloating and intestinal problems (constipation or diarrhea). This may be due to vitamin D influencing something called RAAS (the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system) which, if not functioning properly in the female body, can lead to swelling or bloating of limbs, abdomen and sore breasts (59;60). RAAS is also associated with fluid balance or retention, changes in blood pressure and possibly hypertension (59;75). Regarding emotional problems, lower levels of vitamin D contribute to depression (59;76). Proper Vitamin D intake in women is associated with a lower risk of depression, uterine fibroids, fibromyalgia, and painful periods, called dysmenorrhea (59).

Further, vitamin D may be protective against cancer (breast, colon & prostate), insomnia, and an overactive immune system, as well as heart disease, renal disease, diabetes, and infections (84), and also hypertension or raised blood pressure (60), as well as muscle weakness (46).

There are different types of vitamin D. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the result of dietary intake and skin being exposed to UVB rays. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is found only in a few foods, so supplements may be needed (84). Sun exposure can produce a chemical reaction in the skin cells whereby the body converts ultraviolet B rays to vitamin D.

A fair skinned person only needs to be exposed to outdoor sun for about 10 minutes at midday (no sunscreen or sunglasses, ideally wearing shorts and a sleeveless top). A person of Hispanic origin, or who is tan, needs 15 to 20 minutes of similar exposure. A person of African descent may need 6 times the exposure of a fair skinned person. Older adults, regardless of skin type, may need more sun as an aging body doesn’t make vitamin D as efficiently (84). Keep in mind that from November to March in northern latitudes there is insufficient UV rays to make enough vitamin D in the body (84).

Other options: foods high in vitamin D are fortified milk products, fortified cereals, high fat fish, fish oils, eggs, mushrooms, some juices, pastas and margarine's (65). Supplementation can be used to augment vitamin D from food and the sun (48).

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The information on this site is for educational and informational purposes only.  It is not to take the place of medical advice or treatment.   Seek out a qualified health care provider if you have questions or need help.  Dr. Grant is not responsible for any possible health consequences of anyone who follows or reads the information in this content.  Everyone, but especially those taking medication (over the counter or prescription) should talk with a physician before undertaking any changes to their lifestyle or diet (including taking supplements).