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Which vitamins are the best for women during menopause and afterwards? They’re not the same ones that you took dutifully during your teens, your 30s, or until now. When you reach middle age, it’s important to update your vitamin regimen in order to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency and other health conditions that can creep up on women during menopause and old age.
Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new vitamin regimen. While most vitamins such as vitamin B12 are perfectly safe to take in any amounts, certain nutrients such as vitamins and calcium can have a detrimental effect on your health if taken in abundance.
Not-so-great vitamins with menopause
Sometimes, there is such thing as getting a little too much of a good thing, and that definitely applies to vitamin supplementation during the menopause years.
Here are some nutrients you should be wary about once you reach the age of 50.
Multivitamins with Iron
While your body needs plenty of iron in order to produce plenty of red blood cells, and to prevent iron deficiency anemia, having too much iron in your system can be extremely hazardous to your health.
This is because as you age, your need for iron supplements goes down, beginning with menopause and the cessation of your menstrual periods. So, extra iron gets stored in your organs- your heart, liver, and pancreas- in addition to your joints, which can have a toxic effect, causing chronic pain and life-threatening conditions.
(This is one way that iron supplements are so much different from vitamin B12 supplements; while both are needed for red blood cell production, only iron can have a toxic effect in great amounts. There’s no such thing as taking too much vitamin B12, as your body is able to efficiently discreet any amounts you don’t need in your urine.)
Doctors recommend about 18mg daily for women who haven’t reached menopause and only 8mg for women who have stopped menstruating. Still, you should speak to your doctor before starting any vitamin regimen, especially iron tablets.
If you take blood thinners for cardiovascular disease, then don’t begin vitamin E supplementation without first speaking to your doctor.
Although vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant, it also works as a blood thinner. Women using Warfarin or aspirin during menopause should think twice before taking vitamin E, and probably stop using vitamin E capsules as part of their nutritional regimen.
In men, vitamin E may be more dangerous, as scientists are studying prostrate problems linked to vitamin E.
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The ABCs of the Best Vitamins for Energy: Learn which vitamins and minerals are best for keeping fit, building muscle, boosting energy, maintaining your immune system, and improving athletic performance.
#1: Vitamin A
Orange veggies (carrots, yams, etc.) that are high in vitamin A are excellent for maintaining good eyesight, but that’s not all. Vitamin A also helps your body build protein, which is essential for strong, healthy muscles. Vitamin A also helps your body store energy by aiding in the production of glycogen.
#2: Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Thiamine is one of the most important vitamins for generating muscle growth and boosting stamina during a workout. That is because vitamin B1 helps your body to digest protein and deliver oxygen to your muscles through hemoglobin.
#3: Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin’s impact on athletic performance is threefold:
Riboflavin aids in extracting oxygen from fatty acids.
Riboflavin moves hydrogen ions through the Krebs cycle, which is essential for protein synthesis from amino acids and reproducing DNA.
#4: Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Of all the B complex vitamins, niacin is perhaps the most crucial for converting the calories from foods we eat into energy. Niacin aids in metabolizing protein, carbohydrates, and fats, in addition to supporting your nervous system, supporting healthy hormones, and maintaining cholesterol in already healthy cholesterol levels.
#5: Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Pyridoxine helps your body digest proteins and carbohydrates. The amount of B6 you need correlates with the amount of protein foods in your diet.
#6: Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is crucial for maintaining a healthynervous system, sustaining cognitive functioning, and increasing stamina. Cobalamin benefits your body by aiding in the following biochemical functions:
Nervous system health: By protecting the myelin sheathe of your nervous system, vitamin B12 helps you maintain normal body coordination and movement.
Cognitive health: by assisting in red blood cell metabolism, vitamin B12 supports delivery of oxygen to the brain.
DNA synthesis: Vitamin B12 helps to protect cellular and tissue health.
Stamina: Vitamin B12 helps your body convert fatty acids into energy.
#7: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that supports your immune system. Because vitamin C dissolves rapidly in water and muscular tissue, athletes with the most muscle require more vitamin C than non-body builders, and must supplement their vitamin C intake accordingly.
The health benefits of the antioxidant vitamin C are numerous; they include:
Fighting against free radicals
Metabolizing amino acids, particularly collagen, a protein that is responsible for “gluing” muscular tissue with bone
Increasing oxygen intake by absorbing iron
Producing and releasing vital hormones, including testosterone
#8: Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps your body extract calcium from foods such as dairy products, salmon, and dark leafy greens. Calcium helps your body produce strong bones, muscular tissue, and aids in muscular contraction. Vitamin D also helps you digest phosphorus, which is also essential for proper muscular functioning, in addition to the synthesis of the energy molecule, ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate).
#9: Vitamin E
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in wheat germ, healthy vegetable cooking oils, nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and many breakfast cereals. Vitamin E benefits muscular health by reducing free radicals.
Biotin is instrumental in digesting amino acids and increasing stamina. Bodybuilders who consume raw eggwhites may become deficient in biotin because of avidin, a naturally occurring protein in eggs. In addition to developing biotin deficiency, athletes who eat uncooked eggs expose themselves to the risks of salmonella food poisoning.
#11: Electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, and chloride)
Electrolytes are essential for hydrating the body during excessive perspiring from exercise or exposure to extremely hot, dry weather. Electrolytes include minerals such as sodium, magnesium, and chloride, the loss of which lead to dehydration symptoms such as muscular cramps, heatstroke, and mentaldisorientation. Athletes should opt for drinking water fortified with electrolytes, as your body is unable to produce these minerals naturally.
Creatine is an amino acid that occurs predominantly in fish and poultry. Creatine supplements help your body convert energy from phosphorus, and are popular among athletes who favor sports that require quick, intense bursts of energy, such as bodybuilding, sparring, kickboxing, or sprinting.
Pre-Workout Foods that boost athletic performance:Discover which healthy, nutritious foods boost energy, protect your immune system, and increase stamina.
Following an exercise regimen is crucial for optimal health. Not only is it necessary for maintaining or losing weight, but it is also essential for managing conditions like depression, chronic pain/fatigue, gastrointestinal problems, and even diabetes.
Post-bariatric surgery patient must also follow a physical fitness program.
To get the most out of your daily workout, make sure to eat the right foods. Eating healthy, nutritious pre-workout snacks will help to boost energy, prevent exhaustion, and minimize sports injuries.
Here are four foods that health experts recommend for athletic performance:
1) PB & J
For optimal energy before a sports meet, munch on something with lots of complex carbohydrates and protein. Old School peanut butter and jelly sandwiches get a nutritious update when you substitute whole-grain bread in place of pasty white sliced bread, organic all-natural peanut butter for the sugary processed kind, and 100% fruit spread instead of syrupy-sweet jam.
Yogurt contains active live cultures that are beneficial for breeding healthy “good” bacteria in your gut. Opt for low-fat plain yogurt, and flavor it with fresh fruit and granola. In a hurry? Toss it in the blender, whir it around for a minute, and pour yourself a refreshing fruit smoothie. Some delicious yogurt concoctions to try are berries ‘n mint, cinnamon apple “a la mode,” and date-nut shake.
We kid you not. According to research from Wayne State University, dark chocolate contains ingredients that help boost sports performance. Small doses of chocolate, combined with daily exercise, enhance muscle tone by 50 percent.
Carbohydrates such as glucose provide energy. Before going on a long bike ride or running a marathon, you need an extra dose of healthy sugars to give you the stamina you need to get the most out of your workout. Honey is whole, all-natural blend of healthy sugars that delivers pure energy. Also read: Marathon Runner to eat only McDonalds Food- her 31 Day Menu
“Okay. So, I eat plenty of protein foods. Do I still need to worry about vitamin B12 deficiency?”
Yes. Individuals who lack intrinsic factor are unable to properly digest B12 naturally from foods and risk becoming severely deficient in vitamin B12. Some people don’t realize they have low B12 levels until they start experiencing some the characteristic symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. These include:
Short-term memory loss
Difficulty with balance and coordination
Altered taste perception
Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
Left unchecked, severe vitamin B12 deficiency could lead to irreversible neurological damage, heart attack, or stroke.
“How can I find out if I’m suffering from B12 deficiency?”
The only way to diagnose vitamin B12 deficiency is through a blood screening. Some physicians don’t include vitamin B12 blood testing with yearly checkups, so it’s important to ask your doctor to check yourvitamin B12 levels in order to avoid deficiency. Chronic B12 deficiency patients are advised to get their B12 levels checked on a regular basis. Also read: Worried about Low B12 Lab Results?
“Which people are at risk for developing vitamin B12 deficiency?”
There are many individuals who must supplement with B12 vitamins, either because they don’t have the intrinsic factor hormone, or because they lack the stomach acids needed to utilize vitamins such as B12; these include gastric bypass patients, people who take regular antacid medication for heartburn or individuals with autoimmune or gastrointestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or AIDS. Other individuals who must take regular vitamin B12 supplements are vegans, strict vegetarians and diabetics who take metformin.
“What kinds of vitamin B12 supplements are available?”
There are several forms of vitamin B12 supplementation; these include:
Vitamin B12 injections. For treating chronic B12 deficiency, physicians will often prescribe routine B12 shots. These injections are painful, as they must be inserted in the dense muscular flesh below the buttocks. Some patients are given one round of vitamin B12 shots once per week, for 3-4 weeks, while others with severe vitamin B12 deficiency require a more extended regimen of B12 injections.
Sublingual vitamin B12 tablets. These are dissolvable pills which are placed under the tongue. Physicians might recommend daily B12 pills as a preventative measure against vitamin B12 deficiency. Some questions have been raised as to the effectiveness of B12 pills, and there are reports that sublingual B12 tablets aren’t absorbed efficiently enough to prevent long-term vitamin B12 deficiency.
Read more about the risks associated with vitamin B12 deficiency:
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disorder of the intestines which causes symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach cramps, in addition to non-gastrointestinal disturbances such as arthritis, eczema, chronic fatigue and mental distraction. Some of the debilitating symptoms of Crohn’s disease may be treated naturally through dietary changes.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s is classified as an auto-immune disease; the immune system is triggered into attacking the body’s digestive system, causing inflammation as the body attempts to counteract the symptoms of a weakened immune system.
What causes Crohn’s disease?
Scientists have noted a correlation between Crohn’s disease patients and the presence of anti-yeast antibodies. Crohn’s sufferers tend to have diminished lectin binding proteins, which are essential for utilizing mannan, a yeast derivative. Low levels of lectin combined with a compromised immune system result in production of anti-yeast antibodies which neutralize mannan, often creating a yeast infection or similar inflammation in the gut lining.
What are some natural treatments for Crohn’s disease?
Many of the symptoms of Crohn’s can be avoided by making certaindietary changes.
Here are some tips for preventing Crohn’s naturally:
Avoid yeast products and foods which trigger allergies, such as gluten, soy products and certain nuts.
Heavy protein foods are also to be avoided, such as meat, cheese and eggs, all of which are essential sources of vitamin B12.
In order to avoid getting vitamin B12 deficiency, Crohn’s disease patients are strongly urged to take regular vitamin B12, as vitamin deficiency is a common symptom among Crohn’s patients who neglect to take sufficient vitamin supplements.
Nightshade vegetables such as eggplants, onions and tomatoes are known to cause stomach upset in Crohn’s sufferers, and are to be avoided.
Omega-3 fatty acids are effective at encouraging a healthy response to inflammation which results from Crohn’s. Other natural anti-inflammatory agents are berries, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and rosemary.
Naturally fermented foods are helpful for producing good bacteria, and are excellent treatments for sufferers of auto-immune diseases. Vegetable dishes which promote healthy “gut bugs” are sauerkraut, kimchi and pickled cucumbers.
B12 vitamins are essential for health hair, strong nails and clearer skin, according to certain studies. Learn how vitamin B12 supplements can prevent age-related hair loss and premature whitening.
Vitamin B12 info:
Vitamin B12 is found in many high protein foods; great sources of B12 are lean beef, chicken, shellfish, eggs and dairy products. Vitamin B12 benefits the nervous system, red blood cells and DNA synthesis. Several studies have linked vitamin B12 deficiency with unhealthy hair, skin and nails.
What are the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency?
Some red flags which might indicate B12 deficiency symptoms are:
Look at your nails. Can you see the white moons, or have they disappeared? What about your hair; have you noticed any premature hair loss or graying?
You might not be getting sufficient vitamin B12 in your diet. Research proves that B12 is one of the best vitamins for hair, skin and nails.
Vitamin B12 hair facts
A large percentage of individuals who have low B12 levels also suffer from premature hair loss; premature streaks of white hair are another symptom. Health expertsexplain that it’s your body’s way of warning you to increase vitamin supplements; vitamins that are good for your inner body are also good for external skin, hair and nails.
Another B vitamin, biotin, has also been proven to reduce hair loss from aging. Biotin is essential for developing hair follicles, boosting hair growth, and generally building strong hair, skin and nails.
What is your skin trying to tell you about your B12 levels?Case studieshave linked low B12 with skin lesions; hyperpigmentation and vitiligo are common causes of darkening or lightening of the skin, and often signal a deficiency of vitamins which are good for the skin.
Poor fingernail health is another common sign of vitamin B12 deficiency; symptoms include ridged nail surfaces and disappearing of the “moon” at the cuticle. Not getting enough of the B vitamin, biotin? Brittle nails mean you need to supplement with more vitamin B complex. Spooning of the nail bed means you need more iron and yellow nails signal lack of vitamin E.
Malissa Jones, once nicknamed “Britain’s fattest teen” is now quite possibly Britain’s skinniest…and unhappiest teen, following gastric bypass surgery.
Lose weight now, she was told, or your life is at stake
At the age of 16, Ms. Jones was warned by her doctor that she would have only months to live, unless she lost weight. Morbidly obese, Malissa weighed in at 34 stone. (In American-speak, that’s 476 pounds.) Having already had a mild heart attack a year earlier, Malissa was told to lose 280 pounds, lest the next heart attack be her last.
Her diet consisted of mainly junk food like chocolate and potato chips. At 5’8, Malissa consumed about 15,000 calories a day, more than 7 times the amount recommended for a girl of her age with her build. Malissa had all the symptoms of obesity; she suffered from angina, a cardiovascular disease normally associated with old age, at the tender age of 15. At nighttime she was forced to wear an oxygen mask, because doctors warned that her heart and lungs couldn’t withstand the force of her weight while she was lying down.
In 2008, at the age of 17, Malissa Jones made headlines when she became the youngest person ever in the UK to receive gastric bypass surgery, of which the cut-off age is generally 18. The $20,000 NHS funded operation entailed stapling her stomach to a significantly smaller size and “bypassing” her digestive system so as to limit food absorption. For this reason, gastric bypass patients are unable to digest vitamins such as B12 from food sources, and must submit to a lifetime of vitamin supplements in order to prevent severe vitamin B12 deficiency.
The surgery was a success, at least at first. Two years post surgery, Malissa had lost half her body weight, although she still carried about 28 pounds of loose, excess flabby skin, a side effect which causes quite a bit of dismay among bariatric surgery patients.
“I’m too thin. My body shocks me. But swallowing is painful.
Eating a tiny amount gives me stomach cramps or makes me sick,” admits Malissa.
At the age of 20 she became pregnant. Doctors were concerned that her newly stapled stomach might rupture from the weight of the baby’s womb; at six months Malissa suffered liver failure, so she was forced to have a Cesarean birth. Her baby boy, named Harry, died only one hour after surgery of malnutrition. During her pregnancy, and likely as a result of her weight loss surgery, she was not physically able to eat enough food to support herself and the baby. Malissa was devastated.
Today, Malissa once again battles for her life, only now her enemy is anorexia nervosa
Now, Malissa is 21-years-old and weighs a mere 112 pounds. Diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, she admits that she has food phobia, and that eating makes her feel physically ill. Sometimes, she says, she would rather die than make herself eat. ”I’m too thin. My body shocks me. But swallowing is painful. Eating a tiny amount gives me stomach cramps or makes me sick,” admits Malissa.
Her regular daily diet consists of 3 cooked carrots, some turnips, and a roast potato, amounting to 300 calories, although she was advised to consume between 500 and 1,000 calories per day. Once again, Malissa is told that because of her weight she will likely die of a heart attack within months, only now the challenge is to eat enough to keep her alive.
Too late for regrets
In an interview from 2009, Malissa admits that she wishes she had never had the gastric bypass surgery, and that she liked her body better before when she was fat. The cost for excessive skin removal is $33,000, more than this 21-year-old, who had to quit her job because of disability caused by anorexia, can afford to save up. While the NHS agreed to pay for her $20,00 weight loss surgery, they have not agreed to fund the plastic surgery required to remove the scarred, wrinkled, overhanging skin which typically results from rapid weight loss.
“At least it was firm and curvy, not droopy and saggy,” she says. “I had nice firm arms – now the skin just hangs and I have to cover them up because they look so awful.”
In addition to suffering anorexia, Malissa has chronic depression, for which she takes antidepressants; she also suffers gastrointestinal diseases, chronic fatigue and low immunity. Because she is not able to follow a healthy nutritious diet, her immune system has been severely compromised, leaving her at risk for infections.
On a final note, Malissa has this to say to any obese individuals considering gastric bypass surgery:
“I wish I’d lost the weight through exercise and healthy eating. I know this operation was life-saving, but the complications I’m suffering now might still kill me. The truth is I feel I’m no better off than I was before.”
For more information on some of the risks involved with gastric bypass surgery, please read: