You’re probably used to hearing about the benefits of vitamin C for the immune system, as it often springs to mind if you catch a cold or suspect that your immune system needs support fighting an infection. But this clever vitamin could do far more than bolster up your immune army, it’s involvement in skin, heart and bone health make it an ideal companion for the menopause.
Before you go investing in pots of vitamin C supplements look at how to boost your intake of vitamin C in your diet. Foods that naturally provide a good source of vitamin C include green leafy vegetables, parsley, coriander, purple and red berries (blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, blueberries) and of course the citrus fruits – lemons, limes, oranges, satsumas, clementines and grapefruits. Popping a selection of these on your shopping list and making sure you have a daily intake of vitamin C is a good place to start. You could then consider a vitamin C supplement on top of this, quality forms of vitamin C are Ester-C or liposomal C.
Circulation and heart health
As women go through the menopause the drop in female hormones tends to accentuate some of the risk factors associated with heart disease. One of the effects of the menopause could be a weakening of the capillaries and arteries which carry blood around the body. It’s also not unusual for blood pressure and cholesterol levels to creep up once you hit the menopause so it’s important for post-menopausal women to consider having regular heart health screens with their GP. During hot flushes blood vessels and surface capillaries undergo a super-fast dilation. Vitamin C is considered an important vitamin for helping support the dilation, strength, flexibility and integrity of blood vessel walls and help maintain normal circulation and blood pressure, both important factors for heart health.
Stress and hot flushes
If your menopause is leaving you feeling flustered from regular hot flushes, then supplementing with vitamin C could offer a natural way to cool off. Vitamin C is one of nature’s antioxidant nutrients and researchers have been busy investigating how this vitamin could help women cope with the effects of the menopause.
There seems to be some evidence that when vitamin C is combined with bioflavonoids, compounds found naturally in citrus fruits, that it may help alleviate hot flushes through supporting the normal functioning of the adrenal glands which are responsible for producing stress hormones. Menopausal women often find that hot flushes rise in severity and frequency when they are exposed to ongoing stress or when faced with an emotionally charged or challenging situation.
C is for collagen!
Vitamin C acts as a co-factor for the enzyme responsible for renewing cellular proteins like collagen and elastin. It’s actually pretty impossible for cells to make new collagen unless enough vitamin C is present. Oestrogen also influences collagen production, skin hydration and suppleness, creating that ever-desirable youthful glow. However, during the menopause oestrogen levels decline and the first signs of skin ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles and a drop in skin tone could start to emerge. Vitamin C helps to take up the slack and works extra hard to maintain collagen production and compensate for the lack of oestrogen. But collagen isn’t just important for skin anti-ageing.
This important body protein forms an integral part of connective tissue, cartilage and ligaments, and provides that basic bone matrix structure in which minerals become deposited to help build strong bones and support bone density. Collagen supplements are also helpful for post-menopausal women and work well with vitamin C supplementation to support skin, joint and bone health to help you grow old gracefully.