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December, 06 2017

Which vitamins and minerals do you need during menopause?


Louise @JdeV Chorley store

As with most health issues, when it comes to menopause there's so much information out there about which supplements are best, which must-have superfoods you should try, and which nutrients you're probably deficient in – it can be hard to keep up! So today I wanted to run through a few essential vitamins and minerals you need during menopause, how to get more from your diet, and which supplements can be useful to boost your intake. 

Magnesium

Natural sources: cashew nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, spinach and kale.

If you take away one thing from this article, it should be how important magnesium is during menopause! This vital nutrient is involved in over 300 chemical processes in the body and is used by nearly every cell. You need it for sleep, mood, muscle relaxation, protein synthesis, energy, bone health and more! Plus, if you’re still getting periods, then magnesium can help to ease cramps!

However, magnesium deficiencies are actually quite common in the UK, and without enough, symptoms like fatigue, sleep problems, low mood, restless legs and muscle aches are sure to get worse.

If you’re looking for a magnesium supplement, I’d definitely recommend BetterYou’s Magnesium Oil Spray. It is applied directly to the skin for quick, efficient absorption. 10 sprays a day delivers 200mg of magnesium, so it’s really easy to adjust the dose depending on your needs – but I wouldn’t recommend more than 20 sprays a day.

Iodine

Natural sources: kelp, kombu, sea fish, iodized salts, potatoes

I wouldn’t be surprised if you were wondering what exactly iodine is, since it’s not often talked about! However, this mineral is vital for thyroid function, which is extra important during menopause.

The thyroid is a gland in the neck that secretes hormones which have a range of functions – primarily metabolism. During menopause thyroid function can often decrease, and unfortunately, the symptoms of poor thyroid function also actually look a lot like menopause symptoms – fatigue, dry skin, weight gain, menstrual changes, low mood and thinning hair. Uncanny!

If you’re eating a diet rich in fish then your iodine intake is likely satisfactory, but if not, a supplement can be useful. My favourite is A.Vogel’s Kelp supplement, which provides a vegan source of iodine from sea kelp, a plant a bit like seaweed. Each daily dose of 2-3 tablets provides a fantastic 100-150mcg of iodine.

B vitamins

Natural sources: wholegrains, nuts, seeds, pulses, leafy greens (kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts), yogurt, eggs, meat

There are 8 B vitamins in total, and each has a slightly different function in the body. B vitamins primarily aid metabolism, but each has its own unique combination of uses. For example, vitamin B6 supports the nervous system, vitamin B3 (Niacin) aids DNA repair and hormone synthesis, and vitamin B1 (thiamine) helps to maintain heart function.

A healthy, balanced diet that contains lots of nuts, seeds, pulses, wholegrains, fruit and vegetables, should provide a good balance of these vitamins. However, if you are looking to support your B vitamin intake, make sure to go for a complex such as Hadley Wood’s EnergyB. Each vitamin balances out the other, so taking too much of one could affect the absorption of the others.

The only exception to this rule would be for vegetarians and vegans. If you’re not taking a B complex, I’d definitely recommend taking a B12 supplement, because this essential vitamin can only really be found in meat and dairy.

When it comes to B12 supplements, BetterYou are once again my favourite choice! Their B12 Oral Spray is sprayed onto the inside of the cheek where it absorbs efficiently and quickly. A great B vitamin complex would be.

Calcium & vitamin D

Calcium natural sources: leafy greens, soybeans, milk, fortified cereals, fortified dairy-free milk

Vitamin D natural sources: sunlight, oily fish, fortified foods, eggs, shiitake mushrooms

You’ll probably be aware that calcium is important as we age to look after our bones, but did you know that you also need vitamin D alongside it? This is because vitamin D helps to regulate the movement of calcium in and out of our bones.

Here in the UK, vitamin D deficiency is actually quite common, since we need the sun to manufacture it, and sunny days can be scarce here! This is why children who grow up in the most northern parts of the hemisphere are most at risk of developing rickets. 

A great supplement for bone health would be Lamberts’ Osteoguard, which provides both calcium and vitamin D, as well as magnesium, boron and vitamin K.

Vitamin C

Natural sources: citrus fruits, peppers, kale, broccoli, blackcurrants, strawberries, guava

Vitamin C’s most famous function in the body is immune support – however, during menopause there are few other reasons why you might want to consider increasing your intake of vitamin C.

Firstly, this vitamin is vital for the production of collagen, a protein that keeps our skin firm and supple, helping to prevent sagging and wrinkling. Additionally, collagen also helps to make the connective tissue in our ligaments and tendons, which can help to keep your joints healthy.

Vitamin C also keeps our blood vessels strong and healthy to support better circulation, plus it helps to keep histamine under control which is great if you’re suffering from itchy skin.

And finally, vitamin C is vital for the absorption of iron, which is an essential mineral for all women. Iron is necessary for the production of red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body, but large amounts of iron can be lost each month during your period.

If you’re looking for a vitamin C supplement to top up your dietary intake, I’d recommend A.Vogel Nature C vitamin C supplement which contains naturally sourced vitamin C from acerola, passion fruit, sea buckthorn and blackcurrant.

Multivitamins

Okay, so I’ve gone through quite a few vitamins and minerals today, and I can image you’re a bit worried about having to take a mountain of supplements each morning! But don’t worry, there are lots of great multivitamin supplements that provide all these vitamins and minerals in a healthy dose.

My top recommendation would probably be Lambert’s Multi-Max, a fantastic multivitamin and mineral aimed specifically at those over 50. It contains all of the vitamins and minerals I’ve mentioned today, as well as a few extras like zinc, vitamin E and iron.