Metabolic health is defined as having ideal levels of:
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol,
Metabolic syndrome is very common during menopause when women can develop:
Higher blood sugar,
Lower protective cholesterol HDL,
High blood pressure,
More fat around the tummy area known as visceral fat.
So, what is menopause?
Menopause is sometimes referred to as the ‘change of life’ and is marked by the ending of menstruation (when a woman’s periods stop). A woman’s periods generally become less frequent in the perimenopausal stages, the odd period is missed and then tapering off to cessation.
Hormones responsible for reproduction in the early years are also the hormones related to menopause. During menopause, estrogen and progesterone decrease and present the body with symptoms that occur during this stage of life, which potentially culminates with heart disease, osteoporosis, and metabolic syndrome later in life. Hot flashes are among the most talked-about effects of menopause however a lack of oestrogen can cause other symptoms like:
1 Irregular periods
2 Vaginal dryness
4 Night sweats
5 Sleep problems
6 Mood changes
8 Urinary problems
9 Weight gain
11 Breast tenderness
13 Slowed metabolism
New research has found a synergistic, “positive correlation”, between vitamin D and estradiol with metabolic syndrome.
In other words, women with lower levels of Vitamin D tended also to have lower levels of oestradiol had increased risk of metabolic syndrome.
Hence, women with higher levels of vitamin D tended also to have higher levels of oestradiol and were less likely to have metabolic syndrome.
The researchers also analysed which metabolic syndrome factors most closely correlated with Vitamin D and estradiol.
We know the evidence is there that oestrogen and Vitamin D work together to promote bone health. However, new research from China now suggests that they both could also help to prevent metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women.
They found that:
1 Higher levels of Vitamin D support more favourable measurements of blood pressure, blood glucose, and lipids.
2 Lower levels of oestrogen, oestradiol, tended to accompany less favourable levels of blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
3 Women with insufficient levels of vitamin D and oestradiol were more likely to have metabolic syndrome than women with sufficient levels.
The study shows that low estrogen appears to raise the risk of metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women with insufficient levels of Vitamin D.
In another analysis, which involved ranking the women according to their vitamin D levels, the researchers found that low estradiol increased the risk of metabolic syndrome in women with insufficient Vitamin D. This really tells us that low levels of Vitamin D play a major role in metabolic syndrome.
One also has to appreciate that low levels of vitamin D are linked to cardiovascular disease in men! Remember while Vitamin D is a vitamin, it is converted to a hormone in the body. We know that low hormones levels cause menopausal systems in women but are we forgetting to measure a very important hormone level called Vitamin D. This may be the reason why Vitamin D is a very important supplement especially when you enter this stage of your life.