Menopause is one of the most remarkable stages in a woman's life, yet it can bring about uncomfortable symptoms. A recent study shows that menopausal symptoms may not be due to low vitamin D levels, as what was previously thought.
Many people have associated vitamin D with sunshine; this association is true. Vitamin D is an intensely studied vitamin recently because of its potential health benefits, yet many people are aware of its basic functions. This vitamin is an essential nutrient which is involved in hormonal function and as medical treatment for various illnesses.
Vitamin D is often produced by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight. It can also be found in some foods and some supplements such as cod liver oil. This vitamin has many important functions in the body. First of all, Vitamin D is said to help in the formation and maintenance of bone mass. If there is low Vitamin B, there will be malformation or softening of the bones. This condition is called rickets in children while it is called osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D acts like a hormone to increase calcium in the bloodstream by increasing the body's ability to absorb calcium or reducing the amount of calcium lost through the urine. Vitamin D also facilitates the resorption of calcium from the bone when calcium levels in the blood are low.
Vitamin D also functions to lower high blood sugar, thus preventing diabetes. This vitamin is also involved in the maturation of white blood cells which can fight off infections in the body. Vitamin D can be found in foods such as fish (tuna, sardines, salmon, etc), eggs, mushrooms, milk and fortified cereals and juices. Vitamin D can also be absorbed by the body through sunshine. People can develop vitamin D deficiency if they do not have enough sunshine exposure to meet their needs. They may also become deficient on this vitamin if they do not have adequate intake of vitamin-rich foods.
However there are still some people who can develop vitamin D deficiency. People who live far north have a high chance of acquiring vitamin D deficiency because they get little or no vitamin D during the winter. People who have darker skin may also have less efficiency of producing vitamin D. Examples of these people may include African-Americans who have darker skin than their counterparts.
Those who regularly wear sunscreen may also have increased risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. One study has found out that the regular application of sunscreen can interfere with the production of vitamin D in the skin. Sunscreens with SPF 8 or higher can block out vitamin D absorption in the skin.
Vitamin D absorption is also related to calcium levels in the body. Deficiency of both calcium and vitamin D can cause impaired bone formation and other medical problems. Vitamin D is also related to vitamin k as to function; these vitamins can promote bone formation.
Menopause and Vitamin D Levels
A recent study has shown that there is no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopausal symptoms. This study, from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), analyzed the relationship between vitamin D blood levels and a number of menopause symptoms such as night sweats, concentration, sleep disturbance and forgetfulness. The researchers also commented that vitamin D supplementation may improve mood in certain groups of people. Vitamin D can protect against depletion of serotonin and can relieve joint and muscle pains. Estrogen as a hormone activates vitamin D. The results of this study show that individual menopausal symptoms were significantly associated with vitamin D. However the authors claimed that more studies should be done regarding this matter.
To know more about vitamin D and other nutrients, feel free to read our other articles on this site.