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Does Menopause Cause Vitamin D Deficiency

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency

10 most common symptoms of vitamin d deficiency in adults

You can become deficient in vitamin D for different reasons:

  • You don’t get enough vitamin D in your diet
  • You don’t absorb enough vitamin D from food
  • You don’t get enough exposure to sunlight.
  • Your liver or kidneys cannot convert vitamin D to its active form in the body.
  • You take medicines that interfere with your body’s ability to convert or absorb vitamin D

Physical Activity Reduces Osteoporosis Risk

Exercising regularly throughout life can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Doing some type of physical activity on most days of the week for between 30 and 40 minutes is recommended.

Two types of physical activities that are most beneficial to bones are weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises. In addition to reducing bone loss, physical activity will improve muscle strength, balance and fitness, and also reduce the incidence of falls and fractures.

Factors That Influence Your Vitamin D Level

There are two primary sources of vitamin D: food and sunlight. Some people rely on both sources to achieve adequate vitamin D levels.

That means that your vitamin D level can be influenced by how much you consume through food, and how much produce through sunlight exposure. Its not that simple, though. Many factors can influence how much vitamin D you absorb and how much your body maintains.

For example:

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Is Vitamin D Good For Your Mood

Vitamin D acts more like a hormone than a vitamin every cell in your body has a receptor for it, including your brain cells. As such, some researchers believe that vitamin D may even have a positive impact on mood-regulating brain chemicals, like serotonin .As mood changes are incredibly prevalent throughout the menopausal transition, where many women suffer increased feelings of anxiety, panic and depression, increasing your vitamin D intake may be a helpful buffer for your emotional health.

Benefits Of Vitamin D For Women In Menopause

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If you are a woman in your 30s, 40s or 50s, its time to think about vitamin D. This little wonder of a vitamin plays a central role in many body processes and is on the A-list for women during menopause.

Studies have linked it to preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, and weight gain. If that seems like a lot of prevention in one little vitamin, it is.

You may think of vitamin D as you do other vitamins such as vitamin C or the B vitamins. Yet vitamin D is unique in that it functions more like a hormone than a vitamin. And, as we know from other hormones such as insulin and thyroid hormone, a hormonal deficiency can cause of a multitude of seemingly unrelated problems.

Its important to be aware of your intake of vitamin D as you approach menopause because research is discovering its role in the prevention of many diseases and conditions that are more common as you age. You may be aware of vitamin D as a helper for absorbing calcium and building bones, but it is involved in many other processes that protect you from disease and health problems.

Here are a few of the conditions that vitamin D may help treat or prevent:

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Low Vitamin D May Not Be A Culprit In Menopause Symptoms

The North American Menopause Society
No significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms has been made from the results of a research project on the topic. The authors analyzed the relationship between the blood levels of vitamin D and a number of menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, concentration, and forgetfulness in 530 women who participated in the calcium and vitamin D trial.

A new study from the Women’s Health Initiative shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society.

The authors analyzed the relationship between the blood levels of vitamin D and a number of menopause symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbance, concentration, and forgetfulness in 530 women who participated in the calcium and vitamin D WHI trial.

There was good reason to look for a link because other studies have implied some relationship. For example, breast cancer patients with higher vitamin D levels have fewer hot flashes and other symptoms than women with lower levels. Supplementing vitamin D can improve mood in other groups of people. The vitamin can protect against depletion of serotonin, which plays a role in regulating body heat. And vitamin D deficiency can result in muscle and joint pain.

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How Much Do You Need Daily

In normal circumstances, we would recommend about 400 IU a day to be taken ongoing. This is a safe low dose that you can take for as long as you need to. If you have been prescribed a higher dose by your practitioner or your doctor, then, follow that.

But we do not recommend that you go on a high dose vitamin D if you have not had your vitamin D levels tested because research is now coming out showing that very high levels of vitamin D ongoing can cause certain side effects and is not going to be beneficial for you at all. So it’s really important here that you don’t knowingly overdose on vitamin D if you don’t need it.

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Vitamin D Deficiency Treatment For Women In Arizona

The best and most available of obtaining vitamin D for your body is through sun exposure. But time and again we are told to avoid the sun due to cancer concerns. And while certain supplements and few vitamin-D fortified foods exist, they are often not enough to give you the amount of vitamin D your body needs every day.

How Much Vitamin D Should You Be Getting

What can Vitamin D deficiency actually cause?

The amount of vitamin D someone needs depends on their age, as highlighted below.

Infants 0-6 months:

  • 400 IU/day for adequate intake
  • Upper level intake of 1,000 IU/day

Infants 6-12 months

  • 400 IU/day for adequate intake
  • Upper level intake of 1,500 IU/day

Children 1-3 years old

  • Recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU/day
  • Upper level intake of 2,500 IU/day

Children 4-8 years old

  • Recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU/day
  • Upper level intake of 3,000 IU/day

People 9-70 years old

  • Recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU/day
  • Upper level intake of 4,000 IU/day

People over 70 years old

  • Recommended dietary allowance of 800 IU/day
  • Upper level intake of 4,000 IU/day

Women 14-50 years old who are pregnant or lactating

  • Recommended dietary allowance of 600 IU/day
  • Upper level intake of 4,000 IU/day

That being said, other factors can affect how much vitamin D you may needâso itâs best to ask your healthcare provider what they advise for you.

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Dietary Sources Of Vitamin D

You get most of your vitamin D from sun exposure the rest comes from your diet. The recommended daily allowance for adults is 600 international units. Few foods are natural sources of vitamin D, and others are fortified with it. Fatty fish, such as tuna, salmon and swordfish, are the richest sources of vitamin D. Orange juice, milk, yogurt and ready-to-eat cereals are fortified with vitamin D. Other sources include cod liver oil, eggs, beef liver and Swiss cheese.

Can Too Much Vitamin D Be Harmful

Getting too much vitamin D can be harmful. Signs of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness, and weight loss. Excess vitamin D can also damage the kidneys. Too much vitamin D also raises the level of calcium in your blood. High levels of blood calcium can cause confusion, disorientation, and problems with heart rhythm.

Most cases of vitamin D toxicity happen when someone overuses vitamin D supplements. Excessive sun exposure doesn’t cause vitamin D poisoning because the body limits the amount of this vitamin it produces.

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Vitmain D And The Menopause

Now, lack of vitamin D can play a big factor in menopausal symptoms. So, lets have a look at what particular symptoms you can get with low vitamin D. You can get fatigue. You can get low immunity, which means that you may find youre getting lots of colds and flu and other infections. You can get depression. You can get mood swings. You can get sleep problems. You can get weight gain. You can get something called impaired cognitive function, which basically means that you start to forget things and you cant focus, and you get muddle-headed.

Doesnt this sound familiar? This is just like a menopause symptom package. And the problem for us going through the menopause is that, the older we get, the more difficult it is for us to get vitamin D, either through our skin or through our diet.

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need

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The amount of vitamin D you need each day depends on your age. The recommended amounts, in international units , are

  • Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
  • Children 1-13 years: 600 IU
  • Teens 14-18 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 19-70 years: 600 IU
  • Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU

People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency may need more. Check with your health care provider about how much you need.

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Q: Should People Consider Vitamin D Supplements

A: If the level of vitamin D in your blood is less than 20 nanograms per milliliter, your doctor may recommend taking a supplement. Many women already take calcium and vitamin D supplements together for bone health because vitamin D can help in calcium absorption, and they work best when taken together. Ask your doctor if supplements are right for you.

How Does Vitamin D Affect Womens Health

Sometimes a little bit of sunshine is the best medicine. A walk in the park or a bike ride probably puts you in a good mood, and a moderate amount of sun is also good for your physical health. While youre outside soaking up rays, your body is busy making vitamin D. Thats good news, because this hormone thats boosted by exposure to sunlight plays an important role in womens health.

We have known for a long time about vitamin Ds critical role in bone health. More recently, though, vitamin D has been linked to having a potential role in a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, inflammation and autoimmune disease.

Erin Michos, M.D., associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, explains why vitamin D is important for womens health and how to make sure youre getting enough.

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All About Vitamin B12 And Menopause

In general, there is much confusing surrounding which vitamin and mineral supplements women should take as they transition into their infertile years. Even though vitamin B12 is often recommended, not many women really understand why.

Continue reading to learn all about vitamin B12 and menopause, including what it is, why it’s important in aging individuals, how its deficiency is related to menopause, and much more.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked To Back Pain In Postmenopausal Women

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Related tags:, Pain,

Lumbar disc degeneration is a common musculoskeletal disease that often causes lower back pain. Previous studies have shown the effect of estrogen on disc degeneration, which partially explains why degeneration is more severe in postmenopausal women than in men of the same age. In addition to lower estrogen concentrations, vitamin D deficiency is common during the postmenopause period.

Vitamin D is critical in maintaining levels of calcium and phosphorus, helping to prevent bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis. Recent studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is associated with lower back pain and that supplementation can relieve this pain and improve musculoskeletal strength. But few studies have been conducted regarding the role of vitamin D in spinal degeneration, especially in postmenopausal women.

This new study concluded that vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in postmenopausal women and that a serum concentration of vitamin D less than 10 ng/mL, indicating severe deficiency, should be considered an indicator of severe disc degeneration and lower back pain.

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The Menopause And Lack Of Vitamin D

Dr Stephanie Goodwin, The Menopause Guru2016-06-179 on Mon 27Jun

At one time it was believed that Vitamin D could somewhat mitigate the symptoms of menopause like mood swings and night sweats but US research in 2015 appeared to cast doubt on this being the case and it got quite a lot of publicity which may have caused you to stop taking the Vitamin.

However, the researchers themselves shared two caveats about the study:

  • The women in their study had an average age of 64 at the start
  • The typical women goes through menopause at 51 and although the symptoms can last for more than a decade, they do tend to be at their worst early on.
  • They researchers of that study even admitted that more research needs to be done with younger women so I guess the jury is still out. However, its fair to day that the medical establishment is generally concerned about the lack of vitamin D – whats more the European Menopause Society still recommends that menopausal women take Vitamin D but actually for bone health.

    What Is Vitamin D And Why Do I Need It

    Youve probably heard of it referred to as the sunshine vitamin, and with good reason. Theres not a lot of vitamin D in the foods most of us eat, so we have to get the majority of the D we need either by absorbing sunlight or supplementing. Vitamin D is actually a hormone once it enters the body and is synthesized, and is one of the most important vitamins for menopause wellbeing.

    Like other hormones, D participates in a whole lot of bodily processes including muscle movement its involved in carrying messages from the brain to the body and back again, and its important for fighting off bacteria and viruses. D helps us maintain our bones by absorbing calcium in menopause, and it plays a role in reducing inflammation. Vitamin d supplements even help lower some women’s number of hot flashes.

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    Vitamin D From Your Diet

    So whats the best way to get vitamin D through your food? Look at what we call vitamin D rich foods.

    Thats your oily fishes. Its wild salmon, its your sardines. And you know, sardines are one of the cheapest foods and also one of the best for the menopause because theyll give you vitamin D, theyll give you those lovely fish oils for your brain, for your skin, and theyll give you the little bonus for your calcium as well. So a plate of sardines on toast once a week in the menopause, if you can cope with it, is worth its weight in gold.

    You can also look at foods that are actually fortified with vitamin D. A lot of wheat foods have extra vitamin D in them. You can get vitamin D from butter. But these fortified foods, if you look at the ingredient list, normally contain something called vitamin D2. And vitamin D2 is really not going to be worth much at all. Its the wrong form of vitamin D, and our body will actually find this very difficult to absorb.

    Foods rich in vitamin D include:

    • Oily fish, including fresh tuna – but not tinned!!
    • Free range eggs
    • Oysters and, if you want to splash out, caviar!

    Severe Vitamin D Deficiency & Amenorrhea

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    The absence of menstrual periods, medically known as amenorrhea, can occur as a primary or secondary disorder. Both primary amenorrhea, the absence of menstrual periods by age 16, and secondary amenorrhea, cessation of periods after menstruation has begun, often occur because estrogen levels fall below normal. Low estrogen levels may also affect vitamin Ds ability to facilitate calcium absorption, which can lead to bone loss, explains nurse practitioner Marcelle Pick on the website Women to Women. Women with severe vitamin D deficiency in addition to amenorrhea may suffer from osteoporosis and increased fracture risk.

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    Consider A Vitamin D Supplement If Deemed Necessary

    Low levels of vitamin D may be easily correctable through certain lifestyle changes. However, your physician or registered dietitian can make recommendations for an appropriate vitamin D supplement based on your serum levels. It is possible to get vitamin D toxicity through too much supplementation, creating health risks from vascular calcification to kidney stones. Thats why its important to work with a healthcare professional.

    For more information on building strong bones and the importance of vitamin D and other nutrients during your menopausal journey, join the conversation over at Lisa Health!

    Dr. Aimee Shu, MD, is a medical endocrinologist with particular interests in reproductive and bone health. She enjoys treating patients with menstrual disorders, menopause, fractures, osteoporosis, parathyroid imbalance, and calcium imbalance. As a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, she is active in teaching students and physicians-in-training. She is a certified clinical densitometrist and a certified menopause practitioner . Aimee is also a member of the Medical & Scientific Advisory Board for American Bone Health, a national non-profit. Dr. Shu completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University, medical degree at Harvard University, internal medicine residency at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, and endocrinology fellowship at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.


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