Microsoft word - vitamin d and menopause.doc
Vitamin D and Menopause
Vitamin D is important for all age groups, especially women in menopause. Vitamin D helps the body
absorb calcium, maintain healthy bones and prevent brittle bones (osteoporosis). New benefits of this
vitamin are being discovered every day —stronger bones, improved mood, increased energy, better
hormone performance, reduction in inflammation, cancer and heart disease prevention, and more! What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is one of the only vitamins produced naturally by the body. It is formed when the skin is
exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UVB) rays. Vitamin D acts as a hormone and improves joint and
bone health by helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorous.
How much vitamin D do I need?
The safe maximum limit for vitamin D is 2,000 IUs for adults and pregnant and lactating women.
Vitamin D is found in many dietary sources such as fortified milk, salmon, eggs, and cod liver oil.
However, dairy products made from milk, such as cheese and ice cream, generally do not contain
Sunlight and vitamin D supplements (multivitamins) are additional ways to increase vitamin D. A
blood test can determine the correct amount of supplemental vitamin D you should be taking each
day. The “normal” range for health maintenance is between 20–100 ng/mL, with the optimal range
between 50–80 ng/mL. If your vitamin D level is very low, you may need high dose, prescription
strength vitamin D initially. Most people who have moderately low vitamin D levels can take daily
over-the-counter vitamin D 1000 - 2000 IU supplements.
What are vitamin D deficiency symptoms?
Vitamin D deficiency symptoms may be silent, or may be associated with muscle and joint pain, weak
bones/fractures, low energy and fatigue, lowered immunity, periodontal disease, tooth decay, obesity,
symptoms of depression, mood swings, sleep irregularities, and memory loss (dementia/Alzheimer).
Women with kidney problems or intestinal concerns such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s
disease, celiac disease or gastric bypass surgery (weight loss stomach surgery) may be vitamin D
deficient because they either cannot absorb or adequately benefit from the nutrient.
Do I have Vitamin D deficiency?
To accurately determine if you have a vitamin D deficiency, a 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test, vitamin
D25 (OH), should be performed. Levels should be above 50 ng/ml year-round. Nearly 75 percent of
all Americans have low vitamin D levels, partly due to the high concentrations of sunscreens in hand
and body lotions, moisturizers, and makeup; airborne pollution; and spending more time indoors.
Vitamin D precautions:
Some health conditions cause high calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia). If you have one of
the health conditions below, you should discuss with your doctor whether you should take a vitamin D
Vitamin D and drug interactions:
Several medications can interact with vitamin D. Check with your medical provider before you add
vitamin D supplements to your diet if you are taking any medications, especially:
• Anti-seizure medications, such as phenobarbital (Luminal), primidone (Mysoline) or valproic
• Calcium-channel blockers, such as Cardizem (diltiazem) and Norvasc (amlodipine)
• Older cholesterol-lowering medications that interfere with fat metabolism, such as
• Thiazide diuretics, such as Diuril (chlorothiazide) and Enduron (methyclothiazide), which
• Xenical (orlistat) (over-the-counter known as Alli)
Are tanning beds a safe source of vitamin D?
Usually not. UVB rays trigger the creation of vitamin D through the skin, and are solely responsible for the
healthy benefits of sunshine. Most tanning beds put you at risk of unnecessary, excessive exposure to
For more information on vitamin D you can check out the following web
Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Vitamin D: Office of Dietary Supplements / National Institutes of Health
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D? From WebMD
Prevention of Rickets and Vitamin D Deficiency: New Guidelines for Vitamin D Intake
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