According to a Spanish study* conducted over a period of 10 months, menopausal women may not be getting enough vitamin D in their diets. This link between vitamin D and menopause shows that a deficiency could contribute to health issues, ranging from abdominal obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers. The study also gave the scientists a better understanding of how eating the right foods can improve health.
While menopause is a time of natural transition for women, it can bring unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms. As hormone levels change, women may experience weight gain, loss of energy and hot flashes, as well as more serious problems. One of the researchers who studied vitamin D and menopause pointed out that diet plays an important role in lowering the risk of developing health problems caused by biological and physiological changes that occur with menopause.
Researchers at the Carlos III Institute of Health in Spain conducted the tests that found a link between a deficiency in vitamin D and menopause problems in 2007-2008. The study involved over 3,574 women between the ages of 45 and 68, both pre- and post-menopausal. They were selected from different cities and represented various segments of the population.
Based on questionnaires about the women’s diets, a thorough analysis of their dietary patterns revealed that the women were not getting enough vitamin D and vitamin E. It was also determined that the women were receiving adequate amounts of all vitamins except vitamin D and vitamin E. Of that group of women, 29% were obese and 42% were overweight.
The conclusion of the science team was that a diet with less fat and protein and more vegetables, nuts and carbohydrate-rich foods can balance energy levels and correct the levels of vitamin D and vitamin E.
The Spanish study indicated that a diet providing enough vitamin D is beneficial during menopause. Vitamin D can be obtained from organic raw milk, fish, and egg yolk. One cup of mushrooms can provide more than half of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D. The National Academy of Sciences also claims that regular sunlight exposure can provide women with adequate vitamin D, but it is difficult to determine the exact amount of sun exposure needed.
So what are the potential health threats posed by a deficiency in vitamin D and menopause? While it may be considered a less serious health threat than others, the hormonal and metabolic changes that accompany menopause can lead to unhealthy weight gain, according to a study published in the Gynecological Endocrinology Journal. Once again, diet plays an important role in helping to prevent unwanted weight gain and the serious health problems that may go along with it, such as diabetes.
With age, the risk of developing osteoporosis increases, partly because as the skin ages it is less able to absorb vitamin D from the sun. The connection between vitamin D and menopause has serious implications for post-menopausal women, as vitamin D works with calcium to maintain strong bones, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D and calcium have also been shown to promote kidney and immune system health.
A lack of vitamin D and menopause are also implicated in menopausal women facing a heightened risk of heart disease and hypertension, as well as certain types of cancer. Adequate vitamin D intake has also been shown to help reduce these risks.
The conclusions of the researchers in Spain reveal new insights into the role of vitamin D and menopause issues. Gaining control over these issues can be a matter of adapting a different diet to maintain adequate nutrition and vitamin levels.