B-Well: Why Women in Perimenopause Need B-Vitamins
Everyone needs B-vitamins for good health. Without them we can suffer from a variety of serious ailments. For a woman going through perimenopause, B-vitamins can be essential for effectively managing symptoms.
Adrenal fatigue, for example, is a common secondary condition for many women going through perimenopause. B-vitamins support healthy adrenal function, along with calming and maintaining a healthy nervous system. Many women also suffer with mood swings during perimenopause. Both B12 and B6 vitamins aid in the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, a key brain chemical needed to stabilize moods and promote feelings of wellness and contentment.
For women who suffer with brain fog, and memory issues in perimenopause, low levels of B6 could be part of the problem. Depression, confusion, and an inability to concentrate are all associated with B6 deficiency. Vertigo, dizziness, and heart palpitations are also common complaints from women going through perimenopause. All of these symptoms have been associated with (among other things) a B12 deficiency. Vitamin B6 can also help with stubborn weight gain in perimenopause. It is key in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in our diet, and is necessary for a healthy metabolism - both which can help manage weight.
Food Sources for B-Vitamins
B-vitamins are found in a variety of foods which most of us eat on a regular basis. In fact, B-vitamins are so readily available in our food that any deficiency can be easily remedied by simply adding certain foods into our diet.
Dairy, eggs, meat, poultry, and shellfish are some of the most potent food sources for vitamin B12. B6 can be found in vegetables such as carrots, spinach, peas, potatoes, and also milk. For the remaining B-vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B7 and B9), a diet which includes a balance of foods, is enough to insure that you are receiving adequate amounts of these life affirming and necessary vitamins.
Oatmeal, for example, is an excellent source of vitamin B1. While milk products can supply adequate amounts of vitamin B2, chicken, tuna, or veal can supply vitamin B3. B7 is found in egg yolks and broccoli; spinach, asparagus, and bananas are excellent sources of B9.
Should You Supplement?
Some nutritional hardliners will say that supplementing with B-vitamins is unnecessary, given that they are so easily obtained in a well-balanced diet. There is also a lot of controversy surrounding vitamins in general, which says that most vitamins found in the grocery aisles are not all they are cracked up to be anyway. That is, their quality and actual potency is dubious.
Other health professionals say that supplementing might be necessary for a short time if the body is unusually depleted. Personally, I’m of the opinion that if your diet has been lacking during perimenopause, then perhaps short-term supplementation might be a good idea to help you recover.
But, it’s important to point out, that perimenopause symptoms are primarily the result of hormonal changes and not vitamin deficiency. However, given the negative health consequences of vitamin B deficiency, it’s easy to see how it could certainly exacerbate perimenopause symptoms. Yet another excellent reason to focus on your diet during perimenopause!
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.