A new study says that intake of dietary vitamin D and calcium can significantly reduce the risk of early menopause. Early menopause affects about 10 per cent of women and is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and early cognitive decline. For the study, published online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers evaluated how vitamin D and calcium intake is associated with the incidence of early menopause in the prospective Nurses` Health Study II. The study population includes 116,430 female US registered nurses who were 25-42 years old in 1989 when they responded to a baseline questionnaire. Since 1989, follow-up questionnaires have assessed nurses` lifestyle behaviours and medical conditions every two years. Diet was assessed five times over the 20-year study, allowing the researchers to capture changes in food and nutrient intake over time, said one of the researchers Alexandra Purdue-Smithe from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the US.