- Women's Health
Calcium, Vitamin D, Hot Flashes and Menopause Symptoms
Menopause Symptoms and Menopause Relief
Menopause affects every woman at some point. As a woman gets older, there is a gradual decline in the production of estrogen and in the functioning of the ovaries. At about the age of 40, this decline speeds up and there may be some noticeable signs of menopause, including changes in the menstrual cycle, such as a shorter cycle length, skipped periods, and occasionally heavy periods. These changes or menopause symptoms can last for several years before menopause begins. By the time a woman reaches about 50 years of age, menstruation typically has stopped. This is the cycle known as perimenopause which then transitions to menopause, or the cessation of menstrual periods altogether.
Menopause increases a woman’s risk of developing osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and heart disease. It’s important to talk with your doctor about how you can decrease these risks.
Menopause Weight Gain
Menopause Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Less weight gain after menopause
Research has shown that women who received calcium and vitamin D supplements can significantly lower postmenopausal weight gain, especially in women who weren’t getting enough calcium to begin with.
The great thing about this study, is that it seems a very easy thing for women to do in order to prevent weight gain or even to lose weight often associated with menopause. Simply keep taking the calcium and vitamin D supplements. This can be the best way to lose belly fat.
As you move into the menopausal years, you also need to start thinking about your bones. Estrogen provides a protective effect on bones and as your estrogen level begins to decrease, the protection it has provided decreases as well and you gradually begin to lose bone strength and density. Most doctors recommend that women over 50 take a calcium supplement that contains vitamin D3; the vitamin D3 helps your body absorb the calcium.
Vitamin D and Menopause
There’s definitely more at stake than just weight gain. Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements can also slow bone loss and reduce a woman’s risk of fracture after menopause, making them extremely important for good bone health.
Most postmenopausal women should already be taking a calcium supplement, and there’s no way you’re going to get your vitamin D needs met by the small amounts added to most dairy foods. But don’t think that simply taking a vitamin D and calcium supplement is some magic weight loss formula. The best way to lose weight is to not gain it in the first place. If you want to prevent weight gain, you will still need to exercise, eat a healthy diet and follow a sensible weight loss program.
This dynamic duo of calcium and vitamin D has benefits beyond weight control; it can help prevent other serious health problems as well. As you age, your risk for many chronic or life threatening conditions increases and getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D and calcium can lower these risks. Research has shown that simply getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D can help reduce the risks of:
- Some types of cancers
- Weight gain
Since these conditions can all cause health problems and affect your quality of life, it’s exciting to know that simply taking a daily supplement and providing your body with appropriate amounts of vitamin D and calcium can make a huge difference.
So, how much vitamin D and calcium do we need each day? Research and opinions vary; talk with your doctor or health care practitioner for the amount appropriate for you. The Institute of Medicine recommends 200 IU of vitamin D per day for women under the age of 50, 400 IU for women 51 to 70, and 600 IU over the age of 70. There are only about 100 IU of vitamin D in an 8 ounce glass of milk, not to mention the calories. The National Institutes of Health recommend 1000 mg of calcium every day for women up to the age of 51, then 1200 mg a day for those 52 and up. It would be very difficult to get that much calcium without taking a supplement.
Vitamin D Supplement
Some studies are suggesting that pre- and postmenopausal women may greatly benefit from 3000-50000 IU of vitamin D daily. This amount is higher than what many doctors generally recommend, but the amount considered necessary is on the rise. The amount you need will depend on several factors, including age, lifestyle and any underlying health or risk factors. Postmenopausal women are especially at risk to the dangers of vitamin D deficiency because of the vitamin receptors dependency on estrogen, however even pre-menopausal women are at risk due to the fact that sun exposure is on the decline and the use of sunscreen continues to increase.
Vitamin D Supplement
Vitamin D Deficiency
It’s natural for women to worry about developing osteoporosis as they enter menopause, in fact, after menopause, bone loss is almost inevitable. But there are some things you can do to help prevent the effects caused by lowered estrogen levels.
- Women over 50 should take Vitamin D and Calcium supplements, the amounts vary widely depending on who you talk to, but in general consider at least 1000 – 1200 mg of Calcium and 400 – 600 IU of Vitamin D.
- Calcium and Vitamin D are most effective when taken regularly, so remember to take them every day.
- Some simple lifestyle changes can be a tremendous help:
- Eat a low-fat, high fiber diet
- Do weight-bearing exercise
(walking, climbing stairs). The benefits
of exercise do more than help reduce bone loss, women who exercise have better
balance and posture and are less likely to fall in the first place. That of course means fewer fractures. An excellent form of weight bearing exercise is the use of a rebounder. This mini trampoline provides a multitude of health benefits while strengthening the bones.
In order to reduce menopause symptoms, women need to become more educated about the different options available to them. Many multi-vitamins that sufficed when we were younger, no longer meet the minimum doses of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and amino acids, we need as we age.
Eat a healthy, low-calorie, low-fat diet with plenty of fiber. Exercise regularly and include weight bearing, resistance training in your routine; and take daily supplements of vitamin D and calcium. See your doctor for more advice on how to help with menopausal symptom.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include bone pain as well as muscle weakness. However, the symptoms can be very subtle for many people. Even if there are no symptoms present, having too little vitamin D can pose significant health risks. Having low blood levels for vitamin D has been associated with these risks:
- An increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment, especially in older adults
- Severe asthma in young children
Research also suggests that proper blood levels of vitamin D can help in the treatment and prevention of many different health problems, including diabetes (type 1 and type 2), glucose intolerance, hypertension, and multiple sclerosis.
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