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First I'd like to tell you why I take <strong>menopause vitamins</strong>. I first began taking multivitamins and minerals when I decided to get pregnant and have my first child at age 40. I went to a holistic doctor for a complete physical. He told me to take a grocery store brand supplement, which I did. I continued this practice after the birth, because I knew I needed extra vitamins (the pregnancy and delivery was fabulous, but after my son was born I was a walking zombie for two years. I got a cold about every month and could barely stay out of bed each time.) It wasn't until my son turned 4 years old that I happened upon a vitamin/mineral complex that actually made me feel so much better -- more energy, less colds and flu -- that I became a firm believer in supplements right then and have taken them ever since.
In an ideal world, we would get all of our necessary vitamins and minerals from our food, enough exercise from our lifestyles, and be stress-free. Of course this is not the case. In a study released in September, 2005, available on the USDA website, www.usda.gov it was found that about 93% of all Americans do not get enough vitamin E from their diets. About 56% don't get enough magnesium, 44% not enough vitamin A.
What You Need
During menopause our bodies are under additional stress because of all the hormonal changes that are happening. Stress depletes nutrients, so we need even more than usual. In addition to stress, your adrenal glands take over making the hormones that your ovaries have been making, so they need extra nourishment as well.
The B vitamins and vitamin C are especially good for your adrenal glands. Many women also need extra digestive support at this time. And last but certainly not least, we could use more energy and better sleep.
Taking menopause vitamins can help support your general health, which can make your specific symptoms more mild.
In addition to stress, women going through menopause have higher needs for several different nutrients:
B complex vitamins may help with mood swings, depression, anxiety, irritability, bloating and cramping. They can be found in potatoes, bananas, cereal, lentils, tempe, liver, turkey, and tuna. An exceptionally good source of B vitamins can be found in nutritional or Brewers yeast, found in health food stores.
Magnesium may help with anxiety, irritability, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure and memory loss. Magnesium can be found in spinach, nuts (especially almonds), seeds and some whole grains. Magnesium needs to be balanced with calcium. Too much or not enough magnesium can interfere with calcium absorption.
Vitamin C is a supreme antioxidant and also regenerates vitamin E. It helps keep your skin looking young. Vitamin C can be found in broccoli, cranberries, potatoes, red peppers, strawberries, spinach, tomatoes and citrus fruit.
Digestive support can be obtained from enzymes and probiotics. Traditional societies used cooking and preparation methods to increase the enzyme content of food, so that our bodies did not have to supply the enzymes. As we age, our enzyme producing ability degenerates. It is also compromised by the food we eat, which is often indigestible. Taking enzyme and probiotic supplements can help with bloating, indigestion and irregularity.
Calcium and vitamin D help with prevention of osteoporosis. Calcium may also lower blood pressure and nourish the nervous system.
Obtaining these nutrients from food is always the best choice. The next best choice is getting them from whole food vitamins or superfoods.
To read more about whole food menopause vitamins, see whole food vitamins.
How to Choose a Good Supplement
Whether you're looking for menopause vitamins or just a good womens vitamin,the first thing you need to know is that vitamins are not regulated the way pharmaceutical drugs are. The FDA does not regulate labeling of supplement manufacturers for truthful information -- they are left on their own to police themselves. For this reason I recommend you buy from a manufacturer that follows Good Manufacturing Practices as stated by the FDA for licensed pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Another consideration is absorption rate and bio-availability -- terms that relate to whether or not the pill you're taking is actually getting into your cells, where it is needed. Calcium is notoriously difficult to absorb, even from food. So if you're going to take these supplements for menopause, whole food vitamins are more easily absorbed than synthetic vitamins.
Also consider the following: does your menopause vitamin contain high-quality ingredients? Is it manufactured in a way that preserves the quality, or destroys it?
And finally, you should notice the difference when you take it. Now it may be subtle, you may not notice the benefits until you STOP taking it (believe it or not, this has happened to me several times), but if the vitamin is good enough, you will notice a difference.
If you don't notice the difference when you take a multivitamin and mineral supplement, you may not be getting much benefit. I've taken two different menopause vitamins that met this criteria - they both increased my energy and they both boosted my immune function, making it a very rare occasion when I get so much as a sniffle or mild sore throat. I went from having several colds each season, to a hint of one every three years, if that.