Vitamin C is famous for its immune-boosting properties – but did you know that it has so many other functions that are extra-important during the menopause? Improving skin condition and promoting healthy joints are just a few of these additional functions, so watch my video to find out what else this vital vitamin can do for your menopause symptoms.
Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about the importance of vitamin C. And this is one of these vitamins that is really, really needed in the menopause.
Now, we know about vitamin C generally. We know that it's very good if you have colds or flu or upper respiratory tract infections. But vitamin C is needed for so many different things. And in the menopause, we really need that little bit extra to help support all the things that are going on at this particular time.
What does Vitamin C do in the body?
So, let's have a look at exactly what vitamin C can do in the body. Now, it's needed for hundreds of different processes. So, only going to talk about a few here.
Growth and repair
Vitamin C is needed for growth and repair in all parts of the body. It's needed everywhere. And we know in the menopause that there's lots of physical changes going on at this time. So, our need for vitamin C here does tend to go up quite a bit.
Help to make collagen
Vitamin C helps to make collagen. And collagen is needed to make connective tissue and connective tissue is what keeps everything nice and stable. It stops our skin from sagging and wrinkling. It helps to keep our ligaments and tendons strong in the joints. And we all know how many of us end up with joint aches and pains in the menopause. It's a large number of women have this particular symptom.
It's also needed to strengthen and keep our blood vessels healthy. And that's really important in the menopause because for a lot of women, our circulation can actually deteriorate quite a bit. And that can cause all sorts of other health issues.
Wound healing and support of immune function
Vitamin C is needed for wound healing and it's needed to support immune function. And it's amazing how many of us going through the menopause find that we tend to get more infections in the winter. We tend to be more susceptible to all the sorts of things that are going around. So, we need more vitamin C to help to support our immune system generally.
Vitamin C helps to prevent heart disease. And we know that falling oestrogen can have quite a profound effect on heart disease. And a lot of women, especially peri-menopausal, can be more prone to all sorts of heart issues. So again, really important for this particular one.
It's needed to produce something called ATP. And ATP is needed for cellular energy. ATP is what keeps us going. And we all know during the menopause that fatigue can be a huge issue. We can get tired very, very quickly with all the hormonal changes and all the stress and everything else that we're having to deal with.
And one of the really important things here is that vitamin C is needed to control histamine levels. And most of us, at some point during the menopause, will end up with itchy skin. So, if you're getting a lot of itchy skin, again, that could really be a good indication that you're that little bit low in vitamin C.
So, as you can see, low levels of that wonderful vitamin C can compound a whole range of symptoms that we can get during the menopause.
How much vitamin C do you need?
So, how much vitamin C do you really need? Well, the recommended daily allowance, believe it or not, is only 75 milligrams per day. But the recommended daily allowance is there as an amount to stop you being ill. So, if you take 75 milligrams of vitamin C a day, you're not likely to get scurvy. But that doesn't mean to say that you're still not deficient and that you won't end up with other low vitamin C symptoms.
So, as human beings, we actually need a lot of vitamin C. But we need it little and often. And it's a really interesting reason as to why we've come to this situation. As human beings were developing, as we were growing into the wonderful human race, our diet was mainly berries and fruits. So, we were eating huge amounts of vitamin C on a daily basis because we were gatherers, grazers, and hunters. But unfortunately, as time has gone on, our diet has completely changed and we're not getting that little drip feed of vitamin C.
And interestingly enough, guinea pigs, fruit bats, certain types of birds, and also all the primates as well, they are really the only animals on the planet that cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. So, this is something we really need to take on board.
What's the best way to get vitamin C
So, what's the best way to get vitamin C? Honestly, it's through your food. If you can get really good quality food, if you can get lots of fresh foods, if you can get organic foods, then you can probably get enough vitamin C.
Nature provides us with the best form of vitamin C – more easily absorbed and more natural than the standard vitamin C tablets available. That's why I recommend Nature-C made from extracts of a wide variety of fruit.
But, this is the problem here is that we tend to see vitamin intake as something we take maybe once a day. So, if you have a lovely berry smoothie for your breakfast and you think "Oh that's me, I've had plenty of vitamin C," what is going to happen to your needs for the rest of the day? So, if you're going to get vitamin C from your diet, you need to make sure that you're eating those foods little and often.
Now I know some people are going to say, "Well, I take a thousand milligrams a day. Is that okay?" The answer really is no. It's certainly better than not taking any at all. But remember what I said about in nature, we are eating vitamin C little and often. Now, to get a thousand milligrams of vitamin C in one go, you would have to sit and eat approximately 20 oranges. Nobody would do that. We'd be ill. We'd have a tummy ache. We'd probably get diarrhoea and we'd probably feel sick. So, it's far better to have that little bit of vitamin C on a regular basis rather than taking one big dose a day.
Vitamin C is also what's called water-soluble. So, if your body doesn't need a lot of vitamin C at that given moment, you're going to lose the rest of it. So, you're actually taking in far more than your body can process at that particular moment.
What are the best foods for vitamin C
So, what are the best foods for your vitamin C? Well, it would be things like your green bell peppers, yellow bell peppers. It can be your oranges, your kiwi fruits, your berries, dark green leafy vegetables, your broccoli. It can also be fresh peas, they're really high in vitamin C as well. And you can also look at papaya.
And interestingly enough, most of those foods will also be reasonably high in magnesium as well. So, nature is wonderful. These particular foods will give you quite a few of the nutrients that you really need during the menopause.
Now, the one thing about vitamin C is that it's not in isolation in fruits and vegetables. It's mixed in with compounds called bioflavonoids. And bioflavonoids are those compounds that give your fruits and your vegetables the deep colors, the reds, and the purples, and the yellows, and the oranges.
So, should you decide that you want to add in an extra vitamin C supplement, then it's really important that you look at a supplement that has added bioflavonoids in it as well. They all work synergistically together. Your supplement also needs to be quite low so that you're getting that little and often, and it needs to be taken maybe two or three times during the day. And try and get a supplement that's maybe food state or is made from natural fruits rather than ascorbic acid if you possibly can.
Sugar cravings a sign you are low in vitamin C
Now, one really interesting thing in the menopause, if you are getting lots of sugar cravings, that can also be an indication that you're low in vitamin C. Remember, going back to when the human race was just developing, we need vitamin C little and often. And if we weren't getting enough, the body would crave sweet things because in those days, the only sweet things available were fruits, and berries, and root vegetables.
And today, unfortunately when we get the sugar cravings, we don't realize that our body's basically crying out for vitamin C and we tend to reach for the sweet things which very often give us a slight satiation but they're really bad for the blood sugar level.
Stay away from...
Vitamin C products containing artificial sweetners.
So again, if you find that you're getting the sugar cravings, if you can get maybe a chewable or a suckable vitamin C, very often that will stop the cravings rather than you having to resort to anything else.
So, hope that you found this interesting and it's given you a little insight into how important this common little vitamin is and how we need it an awful lot more in the menopause. So, I look forward to seeing you next week for another A.Vogel Talks Menopause.
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You won’t get the menopause the minute you turn 50! The average starting age is actually between 45 and 55 and it can often depend on a number of factors including hereditary, weight and health, however every single woman will have an individual menopause.