Menopause, Meet The Sunshine Vitamin

Menopause is a stretch of years during which a woman transitions out of child-bearing ability and is characterized by such health concerns as depression, bone density loss, and weight gain. Reversing, or at least easing, some of these concerns may be as easy as a trip to your nearest health food or grocery store. Many doctors suggest that their menopausal patients increase their intake of vitamin D.

Vitamin D and menopause

Proper levels of vitamin D are critical to many difficulties that arise during menopause. For instance, hormones fluctuate during menopause. Many women gain weight. Bone density decreases. Cancer becomes a more prevalent threat. Sleep quality falls off. The stress of managing such life factors such as career, marriage, children, and aging parents can be overwhelming. Depression rears its head. All of these health issues greatly impact the quality of your life. While weight gain and poor sleep may simply be an annoyance, cancer and depression can be crippling. If your vitamin D level is below average, menopause may be giving you a much harder time than you had expected.

The sunshine vitamin

Known popularly as the "sunshine vitamin," it is indeed a fact that vitamin D is best taken into the body through a few hours of bright sunshine each week. It works optimally when absorbed in this manner. However, many women are hard-pressed to find hours of outdoor time during busy weeks, or may not live in continuously sunny climates. Therefore, supplements are the best alternative to sunshine. You can also boost your vitamin D level through eating such foods as fish, soy milk, salami, eggs, and mushrooms--as well as the standards such as milk and cheese.

Proper levels

Your vitamin D level is measured through a simple blood test, ordered by your physician. The optimal range of vitamin D is 50-70 ng/ml. If you are fighting cancer, you should aim for 70-100 ng/ml. Over 100 ng/ml is considered excessive. If your level is below 50, it's possible that a simple vitamin D supplement, taken daily, could relieve some of the health issues you may be experiencing because of menopause. It takes about a month for your level to improve.

Menopause can be a rough season of your life, but some of its difficulties can be improved through proper intake of vitamin D. Talk to your OBGYN about ordering a blood test to check your level of this critical nutrient.