A woman enters perimenopause sometime during her 40s or even late 30s. In the course of this transitional period, the body moves out of the reproductive years and into menopause. In other words, the woman goes from having a normal menstrual period to no period at all. This usually takes about 10 years and a lot of changes in hormones. To alleviate the symptoms that come with fluctuating hormones, some women take vitamins.
This water-soluble vitamin is essential for good health and can help with so many of the symptoms you may experience during perimenopause: bloating, PMS-like mood swings and anxiety or depression. Food sources for vitamin B6 include baked potatoes (with the skin), bananas, chickpeas and chicken breasts. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for women ages 19 to 50 is 1.3 mg daily; ages 51 and older, 1.5 mg daily.
Known for its antioxidant power, vitamin E is helpful to perimenopausal women who experience hot flushes, breast tenderness or vaginal dryness. Food sources for vitamin E include nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and leafy green vegetables; in particular, wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds and peanut butter. The RDA for women 14 and older is 15 mg daily.
Zinc is an essential mineral that helps maintain progesterone levels. If progesterone falls, oestrogen dominates, and the result may be excessive levels of copper. A low zinc/excessive copper imbalance causes food cravings, weight gain and yeast infections. The RDA for women 19 years and older is 8 mg daily. Good food sources for zinc include oysters, beef shanks, Alaska king crab and pork shoulder. You'll find lesser amounts of zinc in yoghurt, chickpeas, Swiss cheese and almonds.
Magnesium plays a hand in regulating moodiness. If you don't get enough, you may suffer from the inability to concentrate, edginess or even depression. Magnesium should be taken outside of mealtimes, as it neutralises essential stomach acids. Good food sources include halibut, almonds, cashews and soybeans. The RDA for women 31 and older is 320 mg daily.
Calcium and Vitamin D
These two go hand in hand. You can get a lot of calcium but if you don't get the vitamin D to go with it, your body can't put it to use. Both are important to perimenopausal women because the risk of osteoporosis rises significantly after menopause. Good food sources for calcium include milk, yoghurt, sardines and cheese. The recommended Adequate Intake for women 19 to 50 years of age is 1,000 mg and for women 50 and older it's 1,200 mg.
Vitamin D is found in few foods (cod liver oil, some fish, egg yolks have small amounts). The body's main source for vitamin D is the sun. When ultraviolet rays enter through the skin, the body can produce its own.