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Menopause and Its Most Common Symptoms: 5 Key Nutrients and Natural Supplements for Menopause Support

Menopause and Its Most Common Symptoms: 5 Key Nutrients and Natural Supplements for Menopause Support

Menopause and Its Most Common Symptoms: 5 Key Nutrients and Natural Supplements for Menopause Support

 

Menopause – the loss or lack of a period for one or more years – is a natural symptom of aging in a woman. It most normally occurs anytime from the late 40s to early 50s.

Menopause causes several changes in the body and results in a variety of symptoms experienced by two-thirds of menopausal women. All of these symptoms are the result of decreased hormone (estrogen and progesterone) production from the ovaries. These can include anything from hot flashes and weight gain to vaginal dryness and atrophy. It also includes health risks like osteoporosis (bone loss) and osteomalacia (softening of the bones) or even heart disease (1).

However, menopause is not one-size-fits-all. Not all women will have the same experiences menopause. Some women will experience severe complications of menopause while others have more mild symptoms.

 

Top 4 symptoms and health risks associated with menopause

 Again, menopause is not one-size-fits-all, but there are several symptoms and health risks that occur commonly enough to be associated with this phase of the female aging process.

  1. Hot flashes

 Hot flashes tend to be the most common symptom to accompany menopause; occurring in 75% of menopausal women (1).

 Hot flashes can occur at any time of the day or night and are indicated by the body temperature rising. The skin will turn red and blotchy, sweating will occur, and heart palpitations or feelings of dizziness are also possible. 

  1. Weight gain

 Weight around the waist, hips, and thighs can occur during the menopause transition. And although midlife weight gain is also related to aging, lifestyle, and genetic factors, the hormone (estrogen and progesterone) fluctuation associated with menopause can contribute to weight change (2).

 Weight gain as a symptom of menopause may also lead to more serious health risks — high cholesterol, high blood pressure and insulin resistance (3).

  1. Arthralgia (muscle and joint pain)

 Though clinical studies have determined the connection difficult to pinpoint, muscle and joint pain is experienced by menopausal women (4). More than 50% of women have experienced an increase in arthralgia and chronic rheumatic conditions, such as osteoarthritis.

The women who have increased incidence of chronic pain have also been shown to have higher rates of fatigue, poor sleep, sexual dysfunction, and depression as well.

  1. Osteoporosis (bone loss)

The decline in estrogen production during menopause can affect mineralization of the bone. Amounts of calcium in the bones decrease, as does bone density, leading to osteoporosis (1). Many women experience accelerated bone loss the first few years after their last menstrual period.

This can increase likelihood of hip, spine, and other bone fractures.

Managing menopause through healthy choices

Though some symptoms of menopause are unavoidable, there are ways to reduce and control them to some degree.

Some treatment options are more intensive – hormone replacement therapy, for example – requiring the consultation of specialized medical professionals, but there are some simpler options that can be done on a daily basis.

These include getting regular exercise and drinking enough water, but most essential is eating a proper diet.

A proper diet for menopause doesn’t only mean consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, but avoiding foods that can aggravate the symptoms of menopause – namely, hot flashes. These food include alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods (3).

Food you want to focus on are those that contain vital nutrients to manage the most severe symptoms of menopause. Low-fat dairy products high in calcium (or dairy alternatives with supplemented calcium), foods containing healthy fats like omega-3’s, and foods high in Phytoestrogens like soy and decaffeinated tea (5).

 

5 essential vitamins and minerals for menopause

Looking more in-depth at nutrient needs during menopause, there are five natural vitamins and minerals that play an important role in supporting the body during this time of change:

 

  1. Vitamin E – Depression, heart disease, and weight gain are common symptoms associated with the stress caused by menopause. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps fit cell-damaging free radicals, reduce oxidation and inflammation, and eases stress (6).
  2. Vitamin B6 – As women age, serotonin production naturally drops. Fluctuating serotonin levels may be a contributing factor in the mood swings and depression common in menopause. Vitamin B6 (aka: pyridoxine) helps produce serotonin can help reduce these symptoms (6).
  3. Calcium – Bone loss from a declining estrogen production reduces the density of the bones, leading to osteoporosis and osteomalacia (1). Supplementing with extra calcium slows demineralization of bones and reduces likelihood of hip, spine, and other bone fractures. Calcium absorption is also amplified by increasing vitamin D supplementation (6).
  4. Folic Acid – The most common symptom of menopause is hot flashes leading to high levels of discomfort for most menopausal women. Clinical studies have found that supplementing with folic acid reduces the severity, duration, and frequency of hot flashes episodes (7). 
  1. Magnesium – Sleep disruption happens often during menopause. Progesterone production is reduced during menopause; progesterone is also a sleep-producing hormone. This can lead to difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep and/or mild insomnia. Magnesium may be able to assist with this issue, being an all-around sleep aid. It can also provide improvement with mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and bloating (8).

 

Supplements for menopause support

 

While the above five vitamins and minerals, plus several others, are essential for staving off or reducing symptoms of menopause to make them more manageable.

If you are having trouble maintaining a balanced diet or achieving the daily required intakes for any of the vital vitamins and minerals for menopause, supplements are also an option.

It’s important to use a trusted brand, and a supplement formulated specifically for menopause support. A natural supplement with an emphasis on the five key nutrients for menopause support is most beneficial, being effective at controlling hot flashes and maintaining estrogen levels.

As always, seek the advice of a trusted medical professional if you are taking a new supplement. Especially if you are already undergoing intensive therapies, like hormone replacement, for your menopause symptoms.

 

Author: Allison Lansman, RDN, LD

 

References

 

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/menopause-facts
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058
  3. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/eating-right-during-menopause
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20537472
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/menopause-diet#foods-to-eat
  6. https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/vitamins-for-menopause
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4161099/
  8. https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/02/13/sleep-supplements/
Women’s Change Natural Menopause Support

Buried Treasure Women’s Change Natural Menopause Support

  • Safe & effective natural menopause support. Helps reduce the frequency of hot flashes. 
  • Helps control night sweats. Helps maintain healthy estrogen levels.
  • All natural vegetarian safe ingredients

Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD),

Allison Lansman is a Registered Dietitian (RD), freelance nutrition and health writer, and wellness blogger. She is the owner/operator of The Freelance RD writing service and blog. Her business provides mainly writing services, but also product development, educational services and brand partnerships.

As an RD, Allison embraces a modern approach to nutrition and wellness. She believes we benefit most from building positive, balanced connections between mind, body, food, and environment. And she is passionate about sharing that philosophy through wellness communication and writing.

Her educational background is through Iowa State University, where she completed both her undergraduate degree and dietetics internship. She is currently studying towards an Masters in Public Health.

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Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine

Vitamin B6 Pyridoxine

Vitamin B 6 is also known as pyridoxine.  It is involved in a wide range of metabolic, developmental and physiologic processes. The three compounds that show vitamin B6 activity include pyridoxine, pyridoxal and pyridoxamine. All these molecules are present in food and are converted to pyridoxal-5-phosphate (PLP) the most active form of vitamin B 6. Pyridoxine is stable to heat and sensitive to heat and alkali. Pyridoxal phosphate the active form of vitamin B6 gives vitamin B6 its various functions. It has a wide array of functions; it acts as a prosthetic group or coenzyme of various enzymes involved in metabolic processes such as transamination, decarboxylation, transsulfaration, desulfaration and non-oxidative deamination reactions. It also plays an essential role in the synthesis of heme, niacin, neurotransmitter, connective tissues, and sphingolipids in nerve sheaths as elaborated.

To begin with, pyridoxine functions as an enzymatic co-factor. It is a suitable cofactor for various biochemical reactions due to its water solubility and high reactivity when phosphorylated.  VitB6 takes part in more than 140 enzymatic reactions.   Most of the PLP-dependent enzymes catalyze important steps in the amino acid metabolism,  for instance co-catalyzing transamination, racemization, decarboxylation, and  alpha ,beta-elimination reactions.  A good example of PLP cofactor function is  in the regulation of steroid hormone action.

Apart from its function as a potent cofactor for PLP-dependent enzymes, pyridoxine is also thought to act directly as a protective agent against free radicals such as reactive oxygen species, like singlet oxygen hence playing a significant role as an antioxidant.  In fact, Vitamin B 6 is more potent than tocopherols or carotenoids in its ability to neutralize the reactive oxygen species.  As such, it prevents damage to the cellular membranes that can result in reversible cell death and hence harm the body.

It is also essential in the formation of neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin and catecholamines..  For instance, pyridoxal phosphate acts as a co-enzyme of glutamate de-carboxylase that converts glutamate to gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA).Deficiency therefore, results in seizures in children due to decreased formation of the neurotransmitters. However, in high amounts it can cause nerve damage. In children especially it is necessary for the normal development of the central nervous system.

Vitamin B6 in the form of PLP is necessary for the metabolism of proteins, sugar and fatty acids as well. This occurs through the transfer of amino and sulfur groups. Vital polyunsaturated fatty acids are synthesized through the desaturation of linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid. Storage carbohydrates such as glycogen are broken down under the cofactor activity of PLP. It also has an immunosupportive function. It is necessary for a healthy immune system. Pyridoxine is also crucial for mounting an effective immune response through stimulation of the immune cells. Deficiency in pyridoxine has been shown to alter the immune response.

Pyridoxine is also important for the cardiovascular health.  Just like folates and cobalamines, it helps to reduce the levels of homocsyteine an intermediate in methionine metabolism.  A PLP dependent enzyme helps convert homocsyteine to methionine. Homocysteine is considered a risk factor for atherosclerosis and venous thrombosis. Also has a role in reduction of high blood pressure.

 Vitamin B 6 is essential for the activation of glycine in the initial stages of heme production which makes it a key molecule in the formation of hemoglobin. As such, deficiency could result in anemia. Vitamin B 6 is also essential for growth and maintaining a healthy skin. Deficiency may result in poor skin health such as the occurrence of skin lesions.

Indeed, pyridoxine is essential for   the cellular metabolism and general well-being of all living organism. The recommended daily allowance in adults is mainly determined by the amount of protein intake. For adults, it is a minimum of 2 mg of B6 per 100grams of consumed protein, whereas in children it ranges from 0.6 to 1.2 mg per 100 grams of protein. Nonetheless, pyridoxine deficiency is rare.