Nutrient Deficiency & the Menopause: What You Need To Know

The menopause is a period of time where we need to be especially mindful of our nutrient intake. As we age, our need for certain nutrients increases and during the perimenopause and menopause, the huge hormonal upheaval occurring can sees the fluctuation of the likes of sex hormones oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, as well as cortisol, insulin, melatonin, oxytocin and thyroid hormones. This can have an impact on our bodies and the vitamins and nutrients we need.

Becky Graham, our resident nutritionist at Get More Vits has discussed just how our bodies can be affected, and the key nutrients that women going through the menopause could be deficient in.
She said, “Oestrogen has protective anti-inflammatory properties and post-menopause, when women are in a permanent state of low oestrogen, there is an increased risk of heart disease and dementia (the two leading causes of death after menopause), as well as an increased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.”

Therefore, it’s vital that those going through the menopause get their recommended daily intake of nutrients to help combat the increased risks.

The key nutrients women can be deficient in during the menopause

Among the main nutrients that women suffer deficiencies from during the menopause, include:

●       Protein: It’s needed for every single cell in our body and demands increase as we age. It is involved in hormone production, DNA replication, building muscle, fuel growth and for cell repair. Eating protein at each meal can help to maintain blood sugar balance, stabilise energy and mood, and keep us feeling full if the goal is weight management or if weight loss is a concern during the menopause.

●       Vitamin D3: This helps us to absorb calcium and low levels are detrimental to bone health. Male and female vitamin D deficiency, or ‘insufficiency’, is common in the UK as we simply do not have access to enough sunlight. The NHS recommend supplementing with 10mcg of vitamin D daily, and for women over 35 combining vitamin D3 with K2 can help to maximise absorption of calcium into the bones.

●       Calcium: Women under 50 require 700mg per day, while post 50 that increases to 1200mg to protect bone health. The best food sources are fish with tiny bones such as sardines, pilchards, whitebait and dairy, alongside plant sources that include fortified plant milk (check the label), kale, broccoli, dried figs and tofu.

●       Omega 3 fatty acids: Inflammation is the main driver of chronic disease and with its anti-inflammatory properties, omega 3 can help to protect against cognitive decline, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Aim to eat two portions of oily fish per week or supplement with fish oil or algae oil if veggie or vegan.

●       Magnesium: It is needed for over 300 biological processes in the body and low levels can cause anxiety, headaches, mood swings, palpitations and muscle cramps.

●       B vitamins: B vitamins help us to release energy from food and support the nervous system. As we age, we produce less stomach acid, which is particularly important for helping us to release B12 – crucial for brain health. 

How do we know if we’re deficient during the menopause?

There are some tell tale signs that our bodies may be suffering from nutrient deficiency during the menopause, which can range from tiredness to dry skin, as well as nausea, IBS, weight gain and more.

Becky highlighted the five most common symptoms that could signify that our body may be lacking in nutrients during the menopause:

1.     Fatigue: When oestrogen levels drop, this can have a negative impact on energy levels and leave us feeling fatigued. Added to this, low oestrogen can also disrupt our sleep by causing insomnia, waking in the night and night sweats. Improving sleep hygiene and ensuring you have adequate magnesium and B vitamins can be helpful.

2.     Psychological symptoms: Brain fog, low mood, stress, anxiety, irritability, and the inability to focus are signs that the manufacturing of stress hormones is depleting B vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium.

3.     Joint pain, muscle aches & more: Fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, poor immunity, low mood and poor cognition are all signs that you could be low on vitamin D during the menopause.

4.     Hot flushes: These can be brought on by eating too much sugar leading to blood glucose imbalances, stress, alcohol and smoking.

5.     Dry skin: Low levels of oestrogen can cause body-wide dryness, so it is important to stay hydrated during the menopause. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, is well known for its its moisturising properties and can help to prevent hot flushes.

Ensuring you get your recommended daily intake

It’s important that during the menopause we look after our bodies and get the recommended amount of nutrients to ensure we combat the increased risk of ill-health.

Alongside the many supplements on the market, and natural sources of vitamins and nutrients, Get More Vits has a great range of products to help stay both hydrated and get your recommended vitamin intake.

We have products that can boost your vitamin Dvitamin CB vitamins and multivitamin packs. You can find our full range by clicking here.


Becky Graham

Lead Nutritionist & Communications - Get More Vits

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