Vitamins are nutrients that the body requires to carry out even the most basic functions, some of which the body is unable to make autonomously. Therefore, these vitamins and minerals must be sourced externally through lifestyle and diet.
In the UK, data suggests that 27% of people have insufficient or deficient levels of Vitamin D. Worryingly, 74% of people have levels that are considerably below the optimum level for wellbeing.
Vitamin D is especially important for women aged over 40, who have risk factors for osteoporosis. Below, we look at why it is so important that women experiencing menopause consider their levels of Vitamin D.
The Role of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for healthy muscles and bones. It plays an essential role alongside calcium for calcium absorption, bone mineralisation and bone development. Insufficient Vitamin D levels reduce the amount of calcium that can be absorbed, causing bones to become brittle and thin.
Vitamin D and Menopause
Postmenopausal women have been the subject of many studies in relation to Vitamin D deficiency due to the links with musculoskeletal diseases. Also looking at changes in Vitamin D metabolism including reduced skin synthesis and changes in body composition. Postmenopausal women with low levels of Vitamin D are more at risk of low muscle function and increased frailty. This could cause an increased risk of fracture injuries.
Furthermore, Vitamin D has been shown to have a positive effect on mood and cognitive performance. Since depression can be one of the symptoms of menopause, this is another reason why you may want to boost your levels of Vitamin D.
Simple Ways to Increase Vitamin D
Increasing your levels of Vitamin D can be done through a number of simple lifestyle changes. These include diet, exposure to sunlight or dietary supplements. Before considering dietary supplements, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional. They can offer expert advice as there are many different types and levels of supplements to consider.
The amount of Vitamin D you need each day varies depending on your age and can range from 200 – 800 international units (IUs). In food and dietary supplements, Vitamin D has two main forms which are D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). These can be found in fortified milk and cereals, fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, cheese and mushrooms.
Most people are able to make enough Vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods of time. However, it is important to be careful not to burn in the sun as this can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer.
Menopause Health Check
If you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, and are concerned about your Vitamin D levels then get in touch today to book a Menopause Health Check.
One of our expert Consultant Gynaecologists can check your Vitamin D levels and perform a number of other checks. They will also be able to offer guidance on different treatment options should you require them.