This article discusses why vitamin D is so important during menopause, how much of this essential vitamin is recommended daily for menopausal women, and how you can increase your vitamin D intake naturally, as well as through food and supplements.
Vitamin D and menopause
Lack of vitamin D can play a major factor in menopausal symptoms. Let's take a look at the particular symptoms a woman with low vitamin D can have:
- You can get fatigued for no apparent reason, even your mental performance suffers.
- Our body's defenses can also be affected by vitamin D deficiency, which means that you may be getting a lot of colds and flu and other infections.
- You can have depression and very low spirits.
- Sudden mood swings can occur.
- Sleep problems, insomnia can also be a consequence of a lack of vitamin D.
- Weight gain. Women during menopause are more likely to have changes in their metabolism, but one of the influencing factors for weight gain is vitamin D and mineral deficiency.
- Cognitive function can be impaired, which basically means that you start to forget things and can't concentrate.
Doesn't that sound familiar? This is like a bundle of menopausal symptoms. And the problem for us going through menopause is that as we get older, it is more difficult to get vitamin D, either through our skin or through our diet.
How to get vitamin D?
The best way to get vitamin D is to get it through exposure to sunlight. When sunlight illuminates the skin, it actually makes the vitamin D that we need every day. But the problem is that as we go through menopause, our skin begins to thin and it becomes more difficult to produce the amounts of vitamin D we need at this particular time.
We also spend a lot more time indoors, right? Maybe we don't go out that often. We also put on a lot of sun cream when we go out. I think this is how everyone is in a panic whereby you should put on sunscreen before going out even in case you end up with skin cancer.
On the other hand, digestion also slows down, making it more difficult for our digestive system to get vitamin D from the food we are eating.
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How to get vitamin D while you are in menopause
So, what can you do to make sure you really get enough vitamin D while going through menopause? The best way to obtain it is through sunlight, as mentioned above, however there are some contradictions that it would be convenient to clarify: Some specialists pointed out: " never go out in the sun without putting on sunscreen ".
But now there is a new camp that says you need to have a 20-to-30-minute exposure to your skin before putting on sunscreen. In this situation, be careful. The ideal is to sunbathe in the morning, that way we make sure that exposure to the sun is not harmful. However, this does not ensure the dose of vitamin D that is actually needed during menopause.
First of all, are you sunbathing for the right amount of time and without sunscreen? And secondly, if so, do you know how long that week of sunshine will give you in terms of vitamin D? It will give you two to three weeks’ worth of value. So that week in the sun, wonderful as it is, it won't give you a lot of vitamin D to supply a whole month.
Vitamin D from your diet
So, what is the best way to get vitamin D, through food? Look at what we call vitamin D rich foods.
Wild salmon and sardines, the latter are one of the cheapest foods and also one of the best for menopause because they will give you vitamin D, they will give you those lovely fish oils for your brain, your skin and it will also give you calcium. Therefore, a plate of sardines once a week is ideal in the menopausal stage.
You can also look at foods that are actually fortified with vitamin D. Many wheat foods contain additional vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from butter. But these fortified foods, if you look at the ingredient list, usually contain something called vitamin D2. And vitamin D2 isn't really going to be worth much. It is the wrong form of vitamin D, and our bodies will actually find this very difficult to absorb.
Foods rich in vitamin D include:
- Fatty fish, including fresh tuna, but not canned!
- Poultry eggs.
- Shitake mushrooms.
- Blue Fish.
Vitamin D supplements
So, the other way you can really get a lot of vitamin D is through supplements. However, it is very important to watch the dosage. The RDA for vitamin D right now is around 400 IU. It is very important not to go over that amount, unless you have been to the doctor, have had your vitamin D levels checked, and they have recommended that you take a higher dose.