Why you need vitamin D during menopause
As the nights draw in and our exposure to the sun’s beneficial rays and the vitamin D it provides decreases, it can leave many of us feeling particularly low. For women going through the menopause this lack of natural vitamin D can also bring further issues. Here, nutritionist, Adrienne Benjamin from Vega Vitamins, explains why it’s essential to get enough vitamin D when you are going through the menopause.
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient, probably best known for its role in bone health, particularly the prevention of childhood rickets – it helps our bodies absorb calcium from our diet.
Evidence is increasingly pointing to the need for vitamin D in relation to many aspects of health and well-being however, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, multiple sclerosis and some forms of cancer. And in relation to menopause specifically, low vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, reduced cognitive function and osteoporosis.
As oestrogen plays a role in activating vitamin D, declining levels of oestrogen during menopause can contribute to vitamin D deficiency. And vitamin D has been linked to maintaining levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps to keep our mood balanced.
Many of us have sub-optimal levels of vitamin D throughout the year and this becomes more acute during the autumn and winter. As a result, the UK Government now recommends that everybody (from age 0 to 100+) takes a daily supplement of 10 micrograms (µg) or 400IU (international units) during the autumn and winter months.
Some groups of people are particularly susceptible to vitamin D deficiency, including those with darker skin, people who cover up for cultural reasons, those who spend a lot of time indoors and those of us who religiously use sunscreen to protect our skin.
In addition, as we age, our skin becomes less efficient at producing vitamin D from sunshine, the main source of this vitamin, which is also in short supply in the UK. And we cannot get the amount of vitamin D we need from food, even if we eat very healthily, as attaining the required 10µg would mean that we had to eat 10 eggs per day! So the best way to get the required amount of vitamin D is to take a daily supplement.
For more intense supplementation (4 hours of sunshine in each spray) we recommened taking 2,000IU (50µg) of the Vega Vitamins Urgent-D Spray – available here or Vega Vitamins Urgent-D Chewable tablets – available here.
If you are concerned you might be deficient, ask your doctor for a vitamin D test and they can then recommend specific levels of supplementation to help bring you back to sufficiency.
This article is sponsored by Vega Vitamins a specialist supplier of Vitamin D supplements.