For many women, both perimenopause and menopause bring uncomfortable symptoms, including fatigue, insomnia, hot flashes, low libido, weight gain, mood swings, vaginal dryness, night sweats, memory fog and more. However, the good news is that certain supplements may help alleviate many of these symptoms. In fact, “Women 50-plus” and “Menopause formula” multivitamins are becoming increasingly popular for supplement brands. These multis usually contain more calcium, iron, Vitamins D and C to specifically meet the health needs of women over 50.
Perimenopause vs. Menopause
The average American woman enters menopause by age 51, but the hormone level shifts that trigger menopause can actually begin years, even decades earlier. Known as perimenopause, this condition can begin as early as age 35, and lasts anywhere from a few months to 10 years.
The primary factor distinguishing perimenopause from menopause is menstruation. Women in perimenopause are still producing estrogen and having periods, whereas, women who have entered menopause have not menstruated at least 12 months.
It is a good idea for women over 50 to discuss their changing supplement needs with their internist or gynecologist.
Here are some key vitamins that have been associated with reducing perimenopause and menopause symptoms:
Vitamin B-12 is necessary for maintaining bone health, DNA production, neurological function and creating red blood cells.
With age, the body loses some of its ability to absorb vitamin B-12 and the risk for a deficiency goes up. Symptoms associated with a vitamin B-12 deficiency include:
fatigue, weakness, constipation, depression, and in later stages, anemia.
According to the Institute of Medicine, not only women over 50 but men as well may not absorb between 10 and 30 percent of the vitamin B12 in their food. Although the official daily value (DV) for vitamin B12 remains at 2.4 mcg throughout adulthood, some experts advise people over 50 to look for 25 mcg of B12 in their multivitamin.
Vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) aids in the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for transmitting brain signals. As women age, serotonin levels drop. Fluctuating serotonin levels may be a contributing factor in the mood swings and depression common in menopause.
The RDA of vitamin B-6 is 100 milligrams (mg) daily for females 19 and older. Taking an additional vitamin B-6 supplement during and after menopause may help reduce symptoms caused by low serotonin levels, which include loss of energy and depression.
CALCIUM AND VITAMIN D
Calcium is needed for the heart, muscles, and nerves to function properly and for blood to clot. In addition, inadequate calcium significantly contributes to the development of osteoporosis.
The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. Vitamin D deficiency may increase your risk of bone fractures, bone pain, and osteomalacia (softening of the bones). This is the process that lowers our calcium absorption rates thus generating a higher risk of osteoporosis, particularly in postmenopausal women.
Women 51 and older should get 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day and at least 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Vitamin E may also help reduce inflammation in the body. Low levels of vitamin E may contribute to depression, heart disease and weight gain. Women over 50 should aim to get 15 mg of vitamin E daily.
At Makers Nutrition, we specialize in customizing formulas and can help you develop a formula specifically for the women over 50 demographic. Contact one of our customer service experts today. http://www.makersnutrition.com/contact-us/