The menopause signals not just adverse symptoms in the body, but hormonal changes that require a different approach to essential vitamin and mineral intake. This is where supplementation can be a great help to staying in optimum health.
According to 2018 research published in the journal Osteoporosis International, over the age of 50 a woman’s oestrogen levels decrease, heightening the risk of osteoporosis or loss of bone density. Meanwhile, a study published in 2017 in the journal Menopause Review found that the menopause directly affects fat distribution, increasing belly fat by some 32% and visceral fat by up to 44%, the latter a danger for Type-II diabetes and breast cancer, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Absolutely essential for menopausal and postmenopausal women, calcium increases bone density and protects against fractures. Best combined with vitamin D, the RDA in women over 51 is up to 1,200mg, but research has found that doses of 500mg are absorbed best.
According to a study published in 2013 in the journal Nutrients, postmenopausal women require greater amounts of magnesium to offset the effects of loss of bone density and increased inflammation in the body. The RDA for women over 51 is 320mg. If consuming more zinc than usual in a bid to bolster immunity during the usual wintry cold and flu season, then be aware that excess zinc can prohibit the beneficial effects of magnesium.
3. Vitamin C
The RDA of vitamin C for those over 51 is 75mg, in order to increase bone mineral density – as suggested by a 2015 study published in the journal Osteoporosis International. A previous study in 2013, published in The British journal of Cancer, showed a link between sufficient vitamin C intake and a lower risk of breast cancer diagnosis and better chance of survival if diagnosed in older women.
4. Vitamin D
In addition to being lauded in the fight against Covid, vitamin D supplementation has been linked to a lower occurrence of falls and fractures, according to a study published in 2014 in the journal Women’s Health. The RDA for women over 51 is 15mg.
5. Vitamin B12
An aid to DNA creation and red blood cell health, vitamin B12 also supports brain function. Unfortunately, our ability to absorb vitamin B12 lessens over time. Found mostly in animal products, that is no excuse for sudden carnivorism: fortified foods have sufficient quantities of vitamin B12 to meet the RDA of 2.4mcg, though supplementation is highly recommended for those following a plant-based diet.