Across the country, women who are experiencing menopause are turning to natural remedies to help minimize their symptoms. And while there are many different options available, one that is widely overlooked is the role minerals play in the body.
Mineral deficiencies can actually make menopause symptoms more severe, so it’s important to ensure that you’re getting the proper balance of minerals during this time. Calcium, magnesium, and iron are essential for menopausal women, but only in the right amounts.
Many people think of minerals as deficiencies, which they feel can worsen menopausal symptoms. But mineral supplementation is only one aspect. Balancing minerals properly is also important. Menopausal women can have too much of some minerals. Many nutrition changes during menopause can help ensure that you’re getting the right minerals for your health.
Menopause typically occurs around age 50, but symptoms can begin much earlier or later. The most common menopause symptoms include hot flashes, sleeping problems, vaginal dryness, and mood swings. Post menopausal women also commonly experience unwanted weight gain.
These symptoms are often due to a decline in estrogen levels and progesterone. Progesterone is our metabolic hormone and helps to balance out estrogen. Many women in menopause still have estrogen-dominant symptoms because of low progesterone. That’s because we only make progesterone when we ovulate, an event which no longer happens once we hit menopause. Low progesterone, caused by the lack of ovulation, can also cause a sluggish metabolism, which can lead to weight gain.
This decreases can also be noticed during peri-menopause, which is why we have more erratic cycles. Estrogen is responsible for regulating many bodily functions, so when levels decline, it can cause a variety of problems. The most common symptoms of menopause that make life difficult include:
Many women might be surprised to learn that mineral deficiencies or an overabundance of a certain mineral can make menopause symptoms more severe. Minerals are responsible for many of the body’s functions, including hormone regulation. And they each interact with each other in different ways.
Common misconceptions about mineral deficiencies can cause women to either waste money on supplements or further push their body out of mineral balance.
Calcium is necessary for bone health. It also helps regulate blood pressure and muscle contractions. A lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis, a condition that causes bones to become weak and brittle. It’s important to understand that calcium works closely with other minerals, like magnesium. So it’s not as simple as taking a calcium supplement. In fact, this can be quite counter-productive.
Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps regulate blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and muscle function. A lack of magnesium can contribute to anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Magnesium also contributes to a healthy thyroid and helps us make Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s main energy source.
Iron is necessary for the production of red blood cells. It helps carry oxygen to the cells and plays a role in energy production. An iron deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, and shortness of breath. Many women have been told that they need more iron, but this is may not be true, particularly for menopausal women. In fact, menopausal women, because they are no longer expelling iron on a monthly basis through their menstrual cycle may accumulate too much iron. Iron accumulation during menopause can cause an imbalance in bone remodeling, since iron inhibits osteoblasts, which can contribute to bone loss.
Here are some ways to counteract the build-up of iron/bone loss:
Potassium is involved in many bodily functions, including muscle function, nerve transmission, and heart function. A lack of potassium can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, and irregular heart rhythms.
Sodium is another mineral that many women are surprisingly deficient in, particularly menopausal women. Like with potassium, a sodium deficiency can slow adrenal function.
In addition to mineral supplementation, some dietary changes can help alleviate menopause symptoms.
Making these dietary changes can help improve your overall health and well-being during menopause.
Many women have been told that a deficiency in specific minerals can actually make menopause symptoms worse. So they logically turn to mineral supplements and one-size-fits-all multi-vitamins that are often marketed and recommended for menopausal women.
Mineral supplements can help replenish the body’s stores of essential minerals. But it’s first important to understand your body’s specific mineral levels before attempting to correct deficiencies. Women often try to self-diagnose a mineral deficiency, but this can be extremely inaccurate. The only way to accurately assess your current mineral levels is with a hair mineral test. This can provide great insight into what minerals you’re lacking and which you may have too much of.
Because minerals interact with each other in unique ways, mineral supplementation can’t be done in an isolated way. Just like spot reduction doesn’t work with exercising, singular mineral supplementation generally isn’t the right approach for dealing with the symptoms of menopause. Instead, it’s important to focus on food sources first. These are by far the best. Even if and when you do need a supplement, it’s best to look for a food-based one.
In addition to mineral balance analysis, there are other things you can do to reduce menopause symptoms. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly (particularly adding in strength training to your fitness routine), getting outside and exposure to the sun, along with managing stress can all help minimize menopause symptoms.
If you’re experiencing severe menopause symptoms, getting to know your body and understand your symptoms can give you an empowered new insight into your systems. A membership to Hormone Healing can help you to Master Your Minerals and put you in charge of your wellness journey.