The dog days of summer are still upon us, so go outside and soak up some vitamin D. A study published earlier this year in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, suggests that a deficiency in vitamin D as well as low estrogen could lead to an increased risk of metabolic syndrome in women. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes in post-menopausal women.
It's estimated that up to 60% of post-menopausal women worldwide experience symptoms of metabolic syndrome. These symptoms include central abdominal obesity, triglyceride levels over 150 mg/dL, HDL cholesterol levels below 50 mg/dL, fasting glucose greater than 100 mg/dL, and high blood pressure. A vitamin D supplementation study showed that supplementing with vitamin D as well as a form of estrogen called estradiol can help reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome in post-menopausal women. Women can increase their vitamin D levels by being out in the sun as well, for as little as 15 minutes a day.
Increased vitamin D levels were also shown to contribute to more favorable blood lipid profiles in post-menopausal women, as well as a reduced risk of osteoporosis and lowered blood pressure. It is recommended that post-menopausal women get their vitamin D levels checked yearly to ensure that they are at least at 30 mg/dL. >50 mg/dL would be ideal.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, recurrent infection, bone and back pain, depression, impaired wound healing, bone loss, hair loss, and muscle pain. Symptoms of estrogen deficiency in women include frequent UTIs, painful intercourse, mood swings, hot flashes, breast tenderness, bone loss, and headaches and migraines.
Don't fall victim to vitamin D deficiency when this is such an easy thing to fix. I like to spend about 15-20 minutes outside mid-day on sunny days when possible. I don't wear sun protection if I can help it. When it's not possible to get outside, I like to use a vitamin D supplement. My favorite one is from Biotics Research. It's called Bio-DK-mulsion. Contact me if you'd like to purchase some, as it's not sold in stores. This product should NEVER be purchased from Amazon since Amazon is not an authorized Biotics Research distributor.