Which vitamins are the best for women during menopause and afterwards? They’re not the same ones that you took dutifully during your teens, your 30s, or until now. When you reach middle age, it’s important to update your vitamin regimen in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and other health conditions that can creep up on women during menopause and old age.
Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new vitamin regimen. While most vitamins such as vitamin B12 are perfectly safe to take in any amounts, certain nutrients such as vitamins and calcium can have a detrimental effect on your health if taken in abundance.
Best vitamins for menopause
As you age, your demand for nutrients begins to change. This is especially true for women, as menopause symptoms such as tiredness, aching joints, and hot flashes sometimes indicate a need for a new vitamin regimen.
To save money and prevent vitamin overuse, it’s important to limit supplementation to nutrients that specifically target the health needs of women during menopause, including perimenopause (pre-menopause) and post-menopause.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient for building red blood cells, maintaining the nervous system, and delaying age-related symptoms of dementia.
Unfortunately, as you get older, it gets harder to digest vitamin B12 from foods, as your body stops making enough stomach acids, which are crucial for vitamin B12 digestion.
Old age, including menopause, is one of the highest risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.
Once you reach menopause, you may begin to notice signs of vitamin B12 deficiency, a dangerously low depletion of vital vitamin B12 nutrients needed to support good health.
Untreated, vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve cell damage (peripheral neuropathy), increased risk for heart attack and stroke, osteoporosis, and symptoms of dementia that occur with old age.
Signs of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory loss
- Painful numbness and tingling in the extremities
- Muscle spasms
- Tinnitus (ear ringing)
- Difficulty retaining balance
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- Frequent falling
Women entering menopause need to take calcium each day, as estrogen levels drop, causing bone loss and calcium malabsorption. For best results, women in their 50s should take 1200mg of calcium supplements, divided into smaller 500mg doses throughout the day.
If you take protein pump inhibitors (PPIs) for acid reflux, then make sure to use calcium citrate.
Note: In addition to interfering with absorption of calcium carbonate, PPIs also prevent you from digesting vitamin B12.
Read more about medications that cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, in preventing bone loss caused by old age and menopause. Doctors recommend taking 600 IU of vitamin D in your 50s, and increasing that amount to 800 IU once you reach your 70s.
Menopausal women should be taking at least 250mg of vitamin C each day in order to sustain healthy joint movement. Vitamin C also helps you absorb iron, supports a healthy immune system and kills free radicals.
For women suffering from iron deficiency anemia, ask your doctor if you should increase your vitamin C uptake to 500mg.
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Like this? Read more:
Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Menopause Symptoms
Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Menopause: Risk Factors
Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS)
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