Alleviating Menopause with Vitamins
Did you know that vitamins can aid in alleviating symptoms associated with menopause? Increasing numbers of women today are opting for alternative or natural interventions in place of, or as an adjunct to, traditional treatments such as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). While herbs are a well-known natural alternative, the use of vitamin and mineral supplements to correct deficiencies resulting from menopause is less familiar to most women.
While we can generally get all the nutrients we need by eating healthy, at various times in our lives our bodies may naturally lack important vitamins. During these periods, vitamin and mineral supplements can assist in maintaining overall health. Here are but some of the many benefits vitamin supplements can provide:
- protect against infection
- regulate hormones
- decrease incidence of heart disease
- keep folic acid levels up
- treat depression
- bolster immune function
- lower risk of breast cancer
- stimulate the absorption of calcium
- alleviate symptoms of stress
Vitamins and Menopause
During menopause a woman's body no longer produces adequate levels of two essential hormones: estrogen and progesterone. This results in a host of side-effects commonly associated with menopause, such as irregular periods, PMS-like symptoms, hot flashes or sweats, bone loss, vaginal dryness, depression, and more. Vitamin supplements have been shown to alleviate many of these symptoms, and to provide other essential nutrients that may be lacking in a menopausal woman, such as those necessary to maintain healthy bones.
What Vitamins Should I Take?
As with any form of intervention, you are advised to consult with your doctor, nutritionist, or homeopath before you embark upon a vitamin and mineral protocol. An excess of vitamins can cause your body to work harder to get rid of the excess, and certain vitamins and minerals are toxic in higher doses.
A good foundation for a vitamin supplement program to treat menopause is a multivitamin that includes an already-prepared mixture of vitamins and minerals to promote good health.
In addition to a multivitamin, you can then add specific vitamins known to be helpful during menopause. Here are but some of these vitamins and a brief overview of their contribution to alleviating symptoms at the menopausal stage of life.
Vitamin C: Helps reduce hot flashes; builds up collagen, which is important for your bones and which gives skin its elasticity; helps combat vaginal dryness and prevent incontinence.
Vitamin B6: Often deficient in women taking estrogen in the form of HRT; often low during depression; vitamin B6 deficiencies have been associated with osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Vitamin D: Stimulates the absorption of calcium, which is essential for women suffering from or at risk for osteoporosis.
Boron: Activates vitamin D and estrogen necessary for the prevention of post-menopausal osteoporosis.
Calcium: Helps slow down bone loss and to prevent osteoporosis.
Magnesium: Relieves premenstrual syndrome (PMS) mood swings; alleviates breast tenderness; helps limit weight gain; key mineral for strong bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
Vitamin E: Reduces hot flashes; helpful in treating vaginal dryness; greatly reduces risk of heart attacks.
B Vitamins: Also known as "stress" vitamins; alleviate anxiety, tension, irritability and poor concentration; offer repose for a women's adrenal gland during this stressful stage of life; used to treat low energy levels.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): Deficiencies in EFAs contribute to dry skin and hair, cracked nails, fatigue, depression, breast pain, lack of motivation, aching muscles, difficulty losing weight, and forgetfulness - all side-effects linked to menopause; lubricates the body and reduces vaginal dryness.