Today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I offer my advice on the best vitamins for menopause. I get asked regularly, "What vitamins and minerals should I be taking in menopause? Which are the best ones for me?" So, I thought, today, I would go through some of the top ones that I recommend regularly.
What is the best vitamin for menopause?
There are 3 vitamins that are best for menopause: vitamin D, B vitamins and vitamin E. Vitamin D and B vitamins are important for supporting the nervous system which gets put under pressure during menopause. Vitamin D is also important for your bone health, whilst vitamin E is an essential nutrient for heart health.
3 vitamins for menopause
So, let's take a look at these 3 important vitamins in more detail, including why they are important and how to increase your intake of them:
Now, apart from calcium and magnesium, which really should be a must for your nervous system and your bones, the other really important one is vitamin D.
It's so common nowadays for so many women to be low in vitamin D. It can be due to diet. It could be due to lack of sunlight, especially at this particular point in time, when so many of us have had to stay indoors for a lot longer.
The problem with low vitamin D is it can affect so many different areas of your health that can sometimes seem very unconnected.
Low vitamin D can cause several problems such as low mood and even depression. It can be a contributory factor to osteoporosis. It can also cause poor, brittle hair, weaken immune function, be a factor in slow wound healing and it can cause muscle pain.
The best way of getting enough vitamin D is through sunshine but as I say, there are so many factors that may inhibit us from doing this. But if you can get out in the sunshine regularly, that is going to top up your vitamin D intake naturally.
Remember too that if you're going in the sun, the minute you put sunscreen on, then you're potentially blocking some of the sun's rays and that may also affect your production of vitamin D. So if you can, try and get out for a little while without anything on.
I live in Scotland. The sun is very rarely really strong. But what I do, especially at weekends in the summer, is that I go out for a few hours in the morning, do my gardening, or sit and read, or go out for a walk, and I put the sunscreen on maybe two or three hours afterward, just before the sun starts to get that little bit hotter.
Vitamin D supplement
You can look at supplementation, such as a vitamin D3 supplement. You need to be careful here because there's so much information on vitamin D and so many sources are recommending very high doses of vitamin D. But research is now showing that taking too high a dose for too long, if you don't need it, may not be the best way forward.
Vitamin D can be stored in the liver. It's a fat-soluble vitamin. So if you think you may be low in vitamin D, if you have a combination of the symptoms that I've mentioned, it's really important to get a test done first by your doctor to check your vitamin D level.
If, however, you just want to take a daily supplement of vitamin D to keep yourself topped up, then 400 IU every single day is normally fine to take ongoing.
Foods that contain vitamin D
So vitamin D foods that you can incorporate into your diet would be dairy products. But dairy is high fat, or at least most is, so this food group should be eaten in moderation. If you are not vegetarian or vegan you can look at oily fish two or three times a week. And mushrooms tend to have a little bit of vitamin D as well. Other than that, there are very few other foods that contain it, so supplementation and sunshine is the best way to get an adequate amount.
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2. B vitamins
The second really important group of vitamins that I tend to recommend regularly are B vitamins. There are several B vitamins, so I don't just recommend one, because they work better together. They have a synergistic action so that they each enhance each other, so it is better, unless you've been advised otherwise, to take a combination.
B vitamins are really important for your nerve function and your nervous system. They help the body convert food into energy, which is important to help fight fatigue during menopause. They help with brain function. And B vitamins are also known to help to extract certain nutrients in your digestion as well.
Foods that contain B vitamins
Foods that you can get the B vitamins in are grains, such as wheat and rice. But be careful with the amount you eat of these because too high carbs in your diet can sometimes cause weight gain.
B vitamins are also in meat, dark green leafy vegetables and they're in legumes as well, such as lentils.
B vitamin supplement
If you are vegetarian and vegan, then, obviously, you're not going to get the B vitamins from meat, so you need to look at some kind of supplementation.
I recommend a vitamin B complex, 50 milligrams, daily. If you go to your local health food shop and say, "I would like a B-50 complex," they will know exactly what you're talking about and they will be able to advise you on the best one.
Take B vitamins in the morning because they are energising. So the last thing you want to do is take one at night because it may interfere with your sleep.
Low vitamin B can cause hair loss. It can cause things like pins and needles, it can cause depression and low mood, and it can also contribute to fatigue and sluggish memory, so it's a really important one to keep topped up.
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is very important for your heart health. We know that menopausal and postmenopausal women are more prone to heart disease, so this is an important one to make sure that you get regularly.
Vitamin E is also really important for nerve function, for supporting immune function, and also for coordination, too. So, if you feel you sometimes get a bit off-balance, maybe you need to look at your vitamin E intake.
Foods that contain vitamin E
Foods where vitamin E is quite high, it's your wheat germ. You can get packets of wheat germ on its own, which you can then add to other foods. So this can be a nice way of supplementing a little bit of vitamin E. And you can get loose wheat germ from your local health food shop. Vitamin E is also in olive oil.
Vitamin E supplement
If you are looking for a daily supplement ongoing, then a nice, safe dose is 400 IU.
So, I hope you found this one helpful. If any of you have had any other great experiences with other vitamins or minerals that you've taken as a supplement during menopause, and you've felt them be of benefit, please let us know. We would love to hear all about them.
Key points to take away from this blog:
- There are 3 vitamins that are important to keep topped up during menopause – vitamin D, B vitamins, and vitamin E
- Vitamin D helps support your nervous system and is essential for your bones.
- B vitamins also help support your nervous system and nerve function. They also support brain function and help the body convert food into energy.
- Vitamin E is essential for good heart health which is important during menopause and post-menopause because this is a time when women can become more prone to heart disease.
Until next week, take care.