What your folks told you when you were a kid still counts: Vitamin C is really important to optimal health. In addition to the anti-oxidant and immune-boosting properties, Vitamin C may have so many other functions that are extra-important during the menopause.
Irritability, anxiety, mood swings… our hormones have a lot to answer for. When they’re all working together in harmony you barely notice them. But in the years leading up to the menopause, fluctuating levels of estrogen, testosterone and progesterone can not only play havoc with your emotions, they can also affect the quality of your life.
One pivotal Vitamin for us is Vitamin C. Not only does it become more important in the cold winter months, but also help our immune system which is under more stress in winter greatly. This is because we spend more time inside, and the risk of respiratory diseases becomes higher.
But this clever vitamin could do far more than bolster up your immune army, it’s involvement in skin, heart and bone health make it an ideal companion for the menopause. It is already difficult to keep everything balanced since we are already low in Vitamin D during winter, which also keeps the immune system at the regime. Therefore, we have to keep an eye on our diet and take supplements whenever we get some symptoms that may indicate we are deficient.
Circulation and heart health
As women go through the menopause the drop in female hormones tends to accentuate some of the risk factors associated with heart disease. One of the effects of the menopause could be a weakening of the capillaries and arteries which carry blood around the body. It’s also not unusual for blood pressure and cholesterol levels to creep up once you hit the menopause so it’s important for post-menopausal women to consider having regular heart health screens with their GP. During hot flushes blood vessels and surface capillaries undergo a super-fast dilation. Vitamin C is considered an important vitamin for helping support the dilation, strength, flexibility and integrity of blood vessel walls and help maintain normal circulation and blood pressure, both important factors for heart health.
Stress and hot flushes
If your menopause is leaving you feeling flustered from regular hot flushes, then supplementing with vitamin C could offer a natural way to cool off. Vitamin C is one of nature’s antioxidant nutrients and researchers have been busy investigating how this vitamin could help women cope with the effects of the menopause.
There seems to be some evidence that when vitamin C is combined with bioflavonoid, compounds found naturally in citrus fruits, that it may help alleviate hot flushes through supporting the normal functioning of the adrenal glands which are responsible for producing stress hormones. Menopausal women often find that hot flushes rise in severity and frequency when they are exposed to ongoing stress or when faced with an emotionally charged or challenging situation.
C is for collagen!
Vitamin C acts as a co-factor for the enzyme responsible for renewing cellular proteins like collagen and elastin. It’s actually pretty impossible for cells to make new collagen unless enough vitamin C is present. Estrogen also influences collagen production, skin hydration and suppleness, creating that ever-desirable youthful glow. However, during the menopause estrogen levels decline and the first signs of skin ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles and a drop in skin tone could start to emerge. Vitamin C helps to take up the slack and works extra hard to maintain collagen production and compensate for the lack of estrogen. But collagen isn’t just important for skin anti-ageing.
This important body protein forms an integral part of connective tissue, cartilage and ligaments, and provides that basic bone matrix structure in which minerals become deposited to help build strong bones and support bone density. Collagen supplements are also helpful for post-menopausal women and work well with vitamin C supplementation to support skin, joint and bone health to help you grow old gracefully.
Gum & teeth health
Vitamin C is also needed for our gum health and teeth repair. Many women in menopause often have bleeding gums. So if this is one of your symptoms, then you could usually guarantee that you’re going to be that little bit low in vitamin C.