Most women alive today will spend more than a third of their lives in their postmenopausal years. Menopause is often associated with uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness and mood swings… and possibly a heightened risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
Good News:There are now many ways to minimize the ill effects of menopause.
To reduce your risk of osteoporosis, starting at menopause, increase your consumption of calcium to 1,500 mg a day. And be sure to get at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D-from dairy products, vitamin supplements and/or sun exposure. (The skin makes vitamin D when exposed to the sun).
Vitamin D boosts the body’s absorption of calcium. One cup of mil contains about 300 mg of calcium and 100 IU of vitamin D.
Best: ”Weight-bearing” aerobics activities like walking, dancing, running and cross-country skiing…along with weight lifting. Try to fit in at least three 20-minute sessions a week.
In two large studies, alendronate was given in conjunction with daily calcium supplements. Results: bone density increased by 8% a the hip and spine. The rate of fractures fell by 63%.
For maximum effectiveness, it must be taken with at least 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D a day.
The combination of a twice-daily slow-release fluoride tablet and 400 mg of calcium has been shown to reduce spinal fractures by 70% among women suffering from osteoporosis…and build bone mass in the hip and spine at the rate of 2% to 6% a year.
Some doctors believe that megadoses of vitamins E and C reduce menopause symptoms and cut the risk of heart disease and cancer. Vitamin E may also relieve hot flashes and vaginal dryness. However, their role in treating menopause symptoms remains unproven, especially taken in supplement form. I don’t recommend them.
Likewise, there’s a lot of hype about herbal remedies like dong quai, sarsaparilla, red clover or damiana-but there’s no evidence that any of these work.
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