As if years of PMT and cramps aren’t enough, menopause leaves some women virtually unable to function. Whilst there are ladies who get lucky and sail through with few symptoms, most will experience hot flushes and night sweats or general tiredness and irritability at some point. Thankfully, as well as hormone replacement therapy, there are effective vitamin supplements that can help. Here’s what to check when looking for menopause supplements.
Ensure that there at least the recommended daily requirement (RDA) of vitamin B-6 in your menopause supplements. A daily dose of 1.5mg supports serotonin production, one of the chemicals responsible for transmitting signals between nerve cells. It produces feelings of well being but levels gradually decrease with age. During menopause, serotonin levels tend to fluctuate and this accounts for depression and mood swings.
Taking supplements rich in vitamin B-6 stabilizes levels during and after menopause. Taking it regularly may lower risk of mood swings and increase energy as well.
Postmenopausal women need to pay special attention to vitamin-D. Exposure to natural sunlight allows your body to produce vitamin D on its own, but the process slows down after menopause. If you become vitamin-D deficient, you’re at an increased risk of bone pain, bone fractures and softening of the bones as they lose density.
Ideally, you should get at least 15mcg of vitamin-D a day, but when you’re over 50, aim for 20mcg daily. Although you can get your vitamin-D quota from foods such as beef liver, fish liver oils, fatty fish, egg yolks or fortified foods such as cereals, taking a supplement is usually the best idea.
It is natural to feel washed out, tired and stressed during menopause which is why taking a supplement with vitamin E is useful. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant to eliminate free radicals from your body. Regular doses of 15mg help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease, depression and chances of menopausal weight gain.
Along with taking a supplement, you can increase your vitamin-E levels by including almonds, wheat germ, shellfish, avocado, hazelnut, squash, spinach and sunflower seeds in your diet.
While vitamins are important to combat symptoms of menopause, it is still a good idea to take a supplement only after discussing your needs with your healthcare provider. High amounts of certain vitamins can cause complications too. For instance, vitamin A is important for postmenopausal women but it can cause toxicity, especially in people with liver disease. It can also cause low blood pressure and interact poorly with other medications. Similarly, you should be careful with vitamin-E when you have kidney problems, skin conditions, eye damage, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Whilst it is sensible to think about vitamins during menopause and ensure intaking the RDA of each daily, there are also the minerals to consider. The most important is calcium. Although menopause is a natural process, managing your health and wellbeing at this time can be a challenge. Menopause affects different women in different ways so it is always better to seek medical advice before beginning supplements.