Xenca Menopause Care
The menopause refers to that time in every woman’s life when her periods stop and her ovaries lose their reproductive function. This will usually occur between the ages of 45 and 55. In a few cases women may become menopausal in their 30s, or even younger. This is then known as a premature menopause, or premature ovarian insufficiency.
As women get older their store of eggs in their ovaries decreases and their ability to conceive diminishes. At this time women gradually produce less oestrogen, causing the body to behave differently. The body does not stop producing oestrogen overnight and the process can take several years, during which symptoms gradually arise. This gradual change is called the ‘peri-menopause’.
Symptoms may include:
- night sweats
- hot flushes
- weight gain
- mood swings
- changes to libido
Whilst some women experience the menopause with only minimal symptoms, others may experience more severe symptoms.
Specific vitamins and nutraceuticals have been shown to alleviate some of the symptoms of the menopause and support overall health during this time.
One of the most common symptoms experienced by women during the menopause is hot flushes. Soy contains two powerful isoflavones: genistein and daidzein, which have been shown to be effective in reducing hot flushes and night sweats.
Vitamin A is a necessary micronutrient for healthy bones and, when consumed at recommended levels, may assist in bone health following the menopause, when there is an increased risk of osteoporosis.
B vitamins are critically important when under a great deal of pressure or stress. Symptoms of B-vitamin deficiency include anxiety, tension, irritability and poor concentration. Therefore, a good form of B-complex is useful to you during any period of stress. During the menopause it is extremely important that the adrenal glands (which are crucial to oestrogen production) are supported, which B vitamins assist. They are also co-factors in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, one of the principle chemicals in the brain which is responsible for mood function. As women age, serotonin levels decline which is a contributing factor in the mood swings and depression, which may coincide with the menopause.
The body produces vitamin D following sunlight exposure. Any deficiency in Vitamin D increases the risk of bone fractures, bone pain and osteomalacia (softening of the bones). Whilst it is possible to consume vitamin D within the diet, it may be best to take a supplement in order to ensure sufficient consumption each day.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that assists in combating free radicals, which damage cells in the body and assists in the reduction of inflammation. It has been shown that vitamin E assists in the reduction of inflammation and oxidative stress and may reduce the risk of depression, which all possess an increased risk during the menopause.
Vitamin C is widely known for its beneficial effect on the immunity system and as an antioxidant in the body. However, vitamin C provides many benefits during the menopause such as reducing hot flushes and building up collagen, which provides the skin with elasticity. It is, therefore, useful in the prevention and treatment of dryness and may assist in the retention of elasticity in the urinary tract, therefore preventing leakages or incontinence, which is common during the menopause. Collagen is also important for bone health.
Magnesium is a crucial mineral for bone health during the menopause so it is important to avoid any deficiency. Magnesium also assists with symptoms of anxiety, irritability and other mood dysfunction.
Manganese, Calcium, Zinc and Copper
When combined, the nutrients manganese, calcium, zinc and copper support bone mineral density, which is particularly important in older adults, as postmenopausal women are at an increased osteoporosis-related bone break. Moreover, supplementing manganese with calcium, zinc and copper may also help reduce spinal bone loss in post-menopausal women.
It is been suggested that the oestrogen decrease that is associated with the menopause may induce a decline in selenium, which accelerates the process of ageing and increases the risk of other diseases. Given the importance of selenium as an antioxidant and in the protection from free radical damage, supplementing selenium intake can, therefore, help the cells and tissues to remain healthy.
Weight gain is a symptom which often occurs during the menopause. If an individual experiences abdominal weight gain, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low levels of HDL cholesterol or constant hunger during the menopause, it may signify insulin resistance, which may be reduced through the supplementation of chromium.
During and after the menopause many women experience hyperthyroidism. The thyroid gland is often implicated in menopausal symptoms. Thyroid imbalances are very common and affect female hormone regulation in the body. The thyroid produces thyroxine, a powerful hormone that affects the burning of sugar or glucose in the body and, in so doing, regulates the rate of metabolism, body temperature and much more. Low thyroid activity can also cause weight gain. Therefore, supplementing with iodine may prevent low thyroid activity during and after the menopause.