The importance of vitamin C in the menopause


Eileen Durward
@EileenDurward


31 July 2017

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about the importance of vitamin C. And this is one of these vitamins that is really, really needed in the menopause.

Now, we know about vitamin C generally. We know that it's very good if you have colds or flu or upper respiratory tract infections. But vitamin C is needed for so many different things. And in the menopause, we really need that little bit extra to help support all the things that are going on at this particular time.

What does Vitamin C do in the body?

So, let's have a look at exactly what vitamin C can do in the body. Now, it's needed for hundreds of different processes. So, only going to talk about a few here. 

Growth and repair

Vitamin C is needed for growth and repair in all parts of the body. It's needed everywhere. And we know in the menopause that there's lots of physical changes going on at this time. So, our need for vitamin C here does tend to go up quite a bit.

Help to make collagen

Vitamin C helps to make collagen. And collagen is needed to make connective tissue and connective tissue is what keeps everything nice and stable. It stops our skin from sagging and wrinkling. It helps to keep our ligaments and tendons strong in the joints. And we all know how many of us end up with joint aches and pains in the menopause. It's a large number of women have this particular symptom.

It's also needed to strengthen and keep our blood vessels healthy. And that's really important in the menopause because for a lot of women, our circulation can actually deteriorate quite a bit. And that can cause all sorts of other health issues. 

Wound healing and support of immune function

Vitamin C is needed for wound healing and it's needed to support immune function. And it's amazing how many of us going through the menopause find that we tend to get more infections in the winter. We tend to be more susceptible to all the sorts of things that are going around. So, we need more vitamin C to help to support our immune system generally.

Gum & teeth health

Vitamin C is also needed for our gum health and for teeth repair. And bleeding gums is quite a common symptom in the menopause. So, if this is one of your symptoms, then you could usually guarantee that you're going to be that little bit low in vitamin C. 

Prevention of heart disease

Vitamin C helps to prevent heart disease. And we know that falling oestrogen can have quite a profound effect on heart disease. And a lot of women, especially peri-menopausal, can be more prone to all sorts of heart issues. So again, really important for this particular one.

ATP

It's needed to produce something called ATP. And ATP is needed for cellular energy. ATP is what keeps us going. And we all know during the menopause that fatigue can be a huge issue. We can get tired very, very quickly with all the hormonal changes and all the stress and everything else that we're having to deal with. 

Histamine levels

And one of the really important things here is that vitamin C is needed to control histamine levels. And most of us, at some point during the menopause, will end up with itchy skin. So, if you're getting a lot of itchy skin, again, that could really be a good indication that you're that little bit low in vitamin C.

So, as you can see, low levels of that wonderful vitamin C can compound a whole range of symptoms that we can get during the menopause.

How much vitamin C do you need?

So, how much vitamin C do you really need? Well, the recommended daily allowance, believe it or not, is only 75 milligrams per day. But the recommended daily allowance is there as an amount to stop you being ill. So, if you take 75 milligrams of vitamin C a day, you're not likely to get scurvy. But that doesn't mean to say that you're still not deficient and that you won't end up with other low vitamin C symptoms

So, as human beings, we actually need a lot of vitamin C. But we need it little and often. And it's a really interesting reason as to why we've come to this situation. As human beings were developing, as we were growing into the wonderful human race, our diet was mainly berries and fruits. So, we were eating huge amounts of vitamin C on a daily basis because we were gatherers, grazers, and hunters. But unfortunately, as time has gone on, our diet has completely changed and we're not getting that little drip feed of vitamin C.

And interestingly enough, guinea pigs, fruit bats, certain types of birds, and also all the primates as well, they are really the only animals on the planet that cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. So, this is something we really need to take on board. 

What's the best way to get vitamin C

So, what's the best way to get vitamin C? Honestly, it's through your food. If you can get really good quality food, if you can get lots of fresh foods, if you can get organic foods, then you can probably get enough vitamin C.

Eileen recommends...

Nature provides us with the best form of vitamin C – more easily absorbed and more natural than the standard vitamin C tablets available. That's why I recommend Nature-C made from extracts of a wide variety of fruit.

Is one big dose a day the answer?

But, this is the problem here is that we tend to see vitamin intake as something we take maybe once a day. So, if you have a lovely berry smoothie for your breakfast and you think "Oh that's me, I've had plenty of vitamin C," what is going to happen to your needs for the rest of the day? So, if you're going to get vitamin C from your diet, you need to make sure that you're eating those foods little and often.

Now I know some people are going to say, "Well, I take a thousand milligrams a day. Is that okay?" The answer really is no. It's certainly better than not taking any at all. But remember what I said about in nature, we are eating vitamin C little and often. Now, to get a thousand milligrams of vitamin C in one go, you would have to sit and eat approximately 20 oranges. Nobody would do that. We'd be ill. We'd have a tummy ache. We'd probably get diarrhoea and we'd probably feel sick. So, it's far better to have that little bit of vitamin C on a regular basis rather than taking one big dose a day.

Vitamin C is also what's called water-soluble. So, if your body doesn't need a lot of vitamin C at that given moment, you're going to lose the rest of it. So, you're actually taking in far more than your body can process at that particular moment. 

What are the best foods for vitamin C

So, what are the best foods for your vitamin C? Well, it would be things like your green bell peppers, yellow bell peppers. It can be your oranges, your kiwi fruits, your berries, dark green leafy vegetables, your broccoli. It can also be fresh peas, they're really high in vitamin C as well. And you can also look at papaya.

And interestingly enough, most of those foods will also be reasonably high in magnesium as well. So, nature is wonderful. These particular foods will give you quite a few of the nutrients that you really need during the menopause. 

Bioflavonoids

Now, the one thing about vitamin C is that it's not in isolation in fruits and vegetables. It's mixed in with compounds called bioflavonoids. And bioflavonoids are those compounds that give your fruits and your vegetables the deep colors, the reds, and the purples, and the yellows, and the oranges.

So, should you decide that you want to add in an extra vitamin C supplement, then it's really important that you look at a supplement that has added bioflavonoids in it as well. They all work synergistically together. Your supplement also needs to be quite low so that you're getting that little and often, and it needs to be taken maybe two or three times during the day. And try and get a supplement that's maybe food state or is made from natural fruits rather than ascorbic acid if you possibly can. 

Sugar cravings a sign you are low in vitamin C

Now, one really interesting thing in the menopause, if you are getting lots of sugar cravings, that can also be an indication that you're low in vitamin C. Remember, going back to when the human race was just developing, we need vitamin C little and often. And if we weren't getting enough, the body would crave sweet things because in those days, the only sweet things available were fruits, and berries, and root vegetables.

And today, unfortunately when we get the sugar cravings, we don't realize that our body's basically crying out for vitamin C and we tend to reach for the sweet things which very often give us a slight satiation but they're really bad for the blood sugar level.

Stay away from...

Vitamin C products containing artificial sweetners.

So again, if you find that you're getting the sugar cravings, if you can get maybe a chewable or a suckable vitamin C, very often that will stop the cravings rather than you having to resort to anything else. 
 
So, hope that you found this interesting and it's given you a little insight into how important this common little vitamin is and how we need it an awful lot more in the menopause. So, I look forward to seeing you next week for another A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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  • Jilly's photo avatar
    Jilly — 05.08.2017 12:39
    I'm post menopause & luckily didn't really have any problems . However I have recently lost around a stone in weight following a virus and am underweight for my height and my skin has started to sag - I exercise regularly and have always taken care of my skin but would appreciate your advice on what I should take to help my body recover. Having read your info on vitamin C maybe that's the answer ?

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 07.08.2017 10:05
      Hi Jilly Vitamin C should help but I would also recommend a Colloidal Silica Capsule as this can be really good for strengthening the skin, you should be able to get one from your local health shop. Remember the water as dehydration can really affect the skin too!

      Reply

  • Anne-marie burrows's photo avatar
    Anne-marie burrows — 02.08.2017 12:11
    Really informative site. I have learned a lot about what my body is going through.

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 02.08.2017 14:35
      Hi Anne-Marie Glad to be of help!

      Reply

  • Mandy's photo avatar
    Mandy — 01.08.2017 16:12
    Does the menopause deepen your voice? As family and friends have noticed that my voice has become deeper in the last few months. Kind Regards.

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 02.08.2017 07:16
      Hi Mandy Yes, this can happen sometimes and may be due to the fact that your testosterone levels have risen, you could ask your doctor to check this for you.

      Reply

  • Maria's photo avatar
    Maria — 01.08.2017 15:42
    Thank you Eileen for your informative advice on dealing with menopause. Not only did they give me additional information, they confirmed thoughts I had on probiotics, histamines, Vitamin C and itchy skin. I feel so much more at peace and intend returning to a vegan diet I had recently taken up as a fast/detox. Ever since being introduced to A.Vogel products nearly 17 years ago I have much respect for them. Thank you.

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 02.08.2017 07:16
      Hi Maria Great to hear that you have been using our products for so long, thank you!

      Reply

  • Avrilrand's photo avatar
    Avrilrand — 01.08.2017 12:27
    This is so helpful Eileen I eat most of these things but never eat the green peppers as I thought they did not contain many vitamins so I shall be eating them from now on.Thanks once again for all you great advice.

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 02.08.2017 07:16
      Hi Avril You're welcome!

      Reply

  • Mandy Durrant's photo avatar
    Mandy Durrant — 01.08.2017 05:52
    I can really vouch for the benefit if taking extra vitamin c. I discovered its uses after I had my second baby quite late at 42. I was really tired and just didn't feel right for months after. I took vitamin c regularly in quite large doses and almost immediately felt a whole lot better. Now, 7 years later I take it for perimenopause symptoms . I take a bottle of vitamin c tablets on holiday with me too. It really does work!

    Reply

    • eileen's photo avatar
      eileen — 01.08.2017 11:01
      Hi Mandy Fantastic!

      Reply

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