Menopause marks the end of the reproductive life of a woman. The hormonal changes that occur following cessation of estrogen secretion in the ovaries cause several bothersome physical and emotional problems such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, irritation and sleeping difficulties.
Although hormone replacement therapy could provide relief from the symptoms of menopause, given the adverse side effects of the treatment many women look for safer alternative treatments for addressing their menopausal woes. Studies suggest that intake of certain vitamins could alleviate the discomfort caused by menopause naturally.
Different Vitamins For menopause
Vitamin E is often recommended as a natural remedy for hot flashes. Studies suggest that regular intake of vitamin E supplements might provide 20 to 50 percent reduction in the frequency of hot flashes. In addition, adequate consumption of vitamin E could lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases after menopause.
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Several studies suggest that the antioxidant vitamin might reduce the risk of certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin E occurs naturally in a large number of plant products such as sunflower seeds, leafy greens, almonds, olive, papaya, tomato, kiwifruit, bell pepper, broccoli and blueberries.
A balanced diet could meet the minimum vitamin E requirement. 600 to 800 IU of vitamin E could be taken daily by menopausal women. Instead of taking a large dose at one time, menopausal women should take 200 IU of vitamin E three to four times a day.
Doses higher than 800 IU might cause adverse side effects. Women suffering from hypertension or on anticoagulant medications should consult their physicians before taking the vitamin E supplement.
Vitamin C aids absorption of vitamin E. Studies suggest that that serum vitamin C level in menopausal women tend to be lower than that in pre-menopausal women. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It helps to strengthen the membrane of the blood vessel, facilitating smooth blood flow.
It also supports the normal functioning of the adrenal glands, which function as sites of estrogen production after menopause. Vitamin C is also necessary for sustaining the optimal functioning of the immune system.
Vitamin B complex
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Certain members of the vitamin B family are especially beneficial for menopausal women. Some health experts suggest that vitamin B3 or niacin might treat sleeping difficulties in menopausal women.
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is essential for sustaining the optimal functions of the adrenal glands that produce small amount of estrogen, thereby partially reducing the physical discomfort caused by estrogen deficiency during menopause.
Vitamin B6 is an important component in several antioxidant enzymes. In menopausal women, the antioxidant hormones are essential for reducing the activities of free radicals.
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The risk of developing vitamin D deficiency increases with age. Low serum vitamin D level in menopausal women increases the risk of osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression and certain cancers. There are few dietary sources of vitamin D.
Fish oil, fatty fish, egg, seafood and vitamin D fortified milk and dairy are some common sources of vitamin D. Menopausal women need at least 400IU of vitamin E is supplements per day. Some studies suggest that higher doses of the vitamin, up to 2000IU might protect menopausal women from several illnesses.