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Around menopause, reductions in hormone levels can lead to a range of effects. Vitamins may help protect the individual’s overall health and manage any discomfort.
Most females who are in their 30s or 40s will start to experience a reduction in their levels of estrogen and progesterone. Eventually, menstruation will stop, and the ovaries will no longer produce eggs. This time of life is perimenopause. When a year has passed without a period, menopause will start.
Sometimes, menopause can happen earlier. This may be due to surgery, undergoing medical treatment, or having a health condition that leads to early menopause.
Menopause is not a disease or illness but a time of transition. As hormone levels fall, a person may experience a range of changes, such as hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and fluctuating moods. These are not strictly symptoms, but many people may find they cause inconvenience and discomfort.
Hormone therapy can help a person manage these changes, but it is not suitable for everyone. Lifestyle choices, such as a healthful diet and regular exercise, can also help. Vitamins, too, may play a role.
In this article, find out which vitamins may help people navigate their way through menopause and help them transition into the next chapter in their life.
Click here to learn more about menopause.
Many different foods, such as nuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, broccoli, kiwi, mango, and tomato, contain vitamin E.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant. This means it can help reduce oxidative stress, which can occur if there are too many free radicals in the body. Certain biological processes and environmental stresses can cause free radicals to develop.
Antioxidants can help protect the body from various changes and diseases that become more likely as a person ages, such as heart disease and cancer. Scientists also say there may be a link between low levels of antioxidants and anxiety and depression, which many people experience as they transition through menopause.
Boosting overall health may make it easier to manage the changes that occur around menopause.
The body produces most of the vitamin D it needs through exposure to sunlight, but a person can also obtain it by consuming egg yolks, oily fish, and fortified products, such as dairy and orange juice.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Vitamin D can help prevent osteoporosis, which occurs when bone density reduces, and the bones become brittle and more liable to break.
The hormonal changes that occur during menopause also contribute to osteoporosis, in those who are susceptible. Some females see a reduction of up to one-fifth of their bone density in the 5–7 years after menopause. Getting enough vitamin D and calcium around menopause can help prevent this.
The United States’ Office on Women’s Health recommend an intake of 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day up to the age of 70 and 800 IU a day from 71 onward.
Although the body produces most of the vitamin D it requires from exposure to sunlight, some people use sunscreen or avoid sun exposure to reduce skin damage. A doctor can test blood levels of Vitamin D to determine whether an individual needs to take a supplement. A doctor can advise on how much vitamin D an individual needs and the best way to get it. People should not consume too much vitamin D, as it may increase the risk of heart and kidney problems.
Some people may find some B vitamins useful around the time of menopause. In 2018, a group of researchers reported that “[t]he role of compounds from the group of B vitamins cannot be overestimated in the menopause.” They add that a deficiency in these vitamins during this time of transition could lead to adverse health outcomes.
Having enough B vitamins may help prevent stroke, cardiovascular disease, and dementia, all of which are a risk for older people and can begin during menopause.
Vitamins B-6 and B-12 may help support cognitive function, which means the ability to think, reason, and remember. Memory problems, focus, and “brain fog” can occur during menopause. Getting enough of these vitamins may lower the risk of developing dementia over time, whether or not they are experiencing menopause.
Rates of depression appear to be higher around the time of menopausal transition. According to one study, a high intake of vitamin B-6 might lower the risk of depression in all older people, including those experiencing menopause.
Research has also suggested that people with low levels of vitamin B-2, B-6, and B-12 may also have reduced bone mineral density, a factor for osteoporosis.
Dietary sources of B vitamins include:
According to one article, some women who consume high levels of vitamin C around menopause may have higher bone density and score higher on cognitive tests than those with a lower intake.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and it may also help prevent some diseases that can result from oxidative stress, such as some types of cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in the immune system and the production of collagen, which is an essential part of the structure of the skin and cells.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant. It is essential for maintaining the immune function and protecting eye health. It does not have any specific benefits around menopause, but it may help boost overall health and prevent some diseases.
Food sources include sweet potato, beef liver, spinach, carrots, black-eyed peas, and dried apricots.
A vitamin A deficiency is rare in the U. S., and taking too much supplemental vitamin A can have adverse effects. People should speak to their doctor before taking additional vitamin A.
Which foods are good sources of vitamin A? Find out here.
The best way to obtain enough vitamins is through a healthful, balanced diet. Sometimes, however, a doctor may recommend supplements.
People should ask their healthcare provider before taking supplements to ensure they are safe and appropriate to use. They should also follow the instructions precisely and avoid exceeding the recommended dose.
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Other foods and supplements provide progesterone. They may help balance hormonal levels during menopause. Find out more in this article.
People can purchase supplements for menopause in a drug store or online. Before buying any supplements, always check with a doctor first, as not all supplements are suitable for everyone to use.
It is also essential to obtain vitamins and supplements from a reliable source, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not monitor the quality of supplements.
Learn about some natural remedies for hot flashes.