Menopause - Nutritional Supplements
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Nutritional Supplements and Menopause
It remains unclear as to whether nutritional supplements are helpful for menopause symptoms. Some experts believe that they do help but others are not as enthusiastic.
While nutritional supplements should never be a replacement for health diet, if taken sensibly, they can’t hurt and may in some cases be helpful.
This is one vitamin that is worth considering at the menopause. Many women find that vitamin E supplements help to relieve hot flushes, vaginal dryness and breast tenderness. One study showed that just 400iu of vitamin E taken daily for between 1 and 4 months helped 50 percent of the women with vaginal dryness. Vitamin E can also be helpful for health skin and nails. Some studies suggest that vitamin E may be helpful in protecting against heart disease by reducing bad cholesterol.
How Much To Take: 250mg twice per day. Supplements containing natural vitamin E are more active.
Caution: Check with your doctor if you are taking antidepressant medication or are an insulin dependant diabetic. Do not take more than 800mg per day.
Ensuring an adequate intake of calcium during and before the menopause will help maintain bone density and will help to ward of osteoporosis. The recommended daily intake of calcium for women over 19 years of age is 700mg per day. Many experts believe that this should be increased during the menopause. Certain foods are an excellent source of calcium, however supplements can also help.
How Much To Take: The body can absorb calcium better if it is taken in small doses throughout the day. Calcium supplements are also better taken with food as other vitamins and minerals help with absorption. The recommended daily intake of calcium for women over 19 years of age is 700mg per day
Caution: The upper safe level for calcium supplements is 1500mg for long term use and 1900mg for short term use.
Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. You can get enough vitamin D if your skin is exposed to sunshine for about 20 minutes a day. However recent research suggests that the RDA’s for vitamin D need to be updated. In a large study, postmenopausal women who took 800I.U (from a combination of food and supplements) had a 37% reduced risk of developing a fracture compared to people who consumed 200I.U. per day.
How much to take: Vitamin D supplements of 600 I.U can be taken at any time of day with or without food.
Caution: The upper safe level of vitamin D supplements is 2000I.U. per day for short term use and 600I.U. for longer term use. This allows for a contribution from sunlight.
Vitamin C and Flavanoids
Some studies suggest that taking Vitamin C and flavanoids may reduce heavy menstrual bleeding that often occurs near the time of menopause. Some people also find that flavanoids also help with hot flushes and mood swings.