Itchy Crawly Skin

Post image for Food as Medicine: Vitamin D & Magnesium for Chronic Pain & Fatigue in Perimenopause

Chronic joint and muscle pain, along with fatigue are very common complaints from women in perimenopause.  If you are in actual menopause (no longer having menstrual cycles) and over the age of 50, then it only seems to worsen with each passing year.

If you are also not interested in jumping on the antidepressant bandwagon – the treatment du jour for everything for women in perimenopause and menopause – there are food options such as Vitamin D and magnesium, which have been shown to effectively treat and manage joint and muscle pain and chronic fatigue.

Symptoms of Low Vitamin D

Low Vitamin D is associated with chronic pain illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. It is also linked to depression (another bothersome symptom of perimenopause), general muscle pain and weakness, muscle cramps, and chronic joint pain.

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone which your body naturally produces when your skin is exposed to sun light. Therefore, the best way to increase Vitamin D is to increase your exposure to sunshine.  As we age, however, our bodies produce less Vitamin D, even upon adequate exposure to sunlight and it might require that we supplement.

But, don’t run out and buy Vitamin D supplement without first consulting with your physician and having your blood levels checked!  In the meantime, you can certainly make sure you have these foods in your diet to help boost levels of Vitamin D in your body.

Foods High in Vitamin D

  • Oily fish such as trout are very high in Vitamin D.  Cooked trout has as much as 100 mgs in a 3-oz filet.  Other good fish sources are: salmon, swordfish, mackerel, tuna (canned), halibut, tilapia, flounder, and sardine.
  • Portabello mushrooms also have 100 mgs of Vitamin D, per cup.  I personally love mushrooms, so this was great news to me!  Other mushroom choices are: maitake, morel, chanterelle, oyster, and white.
  • Milk and eggs (the yolks) are not as dense as oily fish or even mushrooms for Vitamin D, but since most of us drink some milk and eat some eggs, they are certainly very easy sources
  • Beef liver – if you like it – is also a good source of Vitamin D.  About 50 IUs (international units) per 3-oz serving.  Liver is also an excellent source of iron and Vitamin A as well.
  • Cod Liver Oil – again, if you can stomach it – is packed with about 1,300 IUs per 1 Tablespoon.  Which is twice the recommended daily dietary allowance.  So, if you can choke it down, ladies, it’s a very dense source!

It should also be noted that if you do decide to supplement with Vitamin D that you do not supplement with too much over a long period of time. Taking too many vitamin D supplements over a long period of time can cause more calcium to be absorbed than can be excreted from your body.  Excess calcium can be deposited in your kidneys result in kidney damage, and can also cause poor calcium absorption in your bones.

Symptoms of Low Magnesium

In the research I did for this article, I was very intrigued to learn that low magnesium can be a very serious health problem for women.  Some physicians even believe that low magnesium can be associated with every known illness, which, frankly, is a pretty bold statement if you ask me.

It is, according to Dr. Mark Sirkus, from GreenMedInfo.com,  the most important mineral to our body.  Without adequate magnesium we can can suffer from such maladies as:

  • Muscle twitches
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle soreness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Osteoarthritis joint pain
  • Generalized aches & pains
  • Back aches
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • TMJ (jaw joint dysfunction)

magnesium-rich-foods

Other symptoms of low magnesium which I found notable for women in perimenopause are:

Food Sources of Magnesium

  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach are high in magnesium and an excellent source of food to combat low magnesium levels. Please also see my post on the Nutribullet and green smoothies for other ways to increase your greens intake.
  • Figs contain high levels of magnesium.  They are also high in malic acid and manganese which help with inflammation and pain.
  • Nuts & Seeds such as pumpkin (1/2  cup can provide 100% of your magnesium needs a day), almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews, pine nuts and flaxseed.  Again, check the Nutribullet post for adding nuts and seeds to your green smoothies.
  • Oily Fish such as salmon, halibut and tuna (also great sources of Vitamin D as noted above) are high in magnesium
  • Avocados can provide as much as 15% of your daily need of magnesium
  • Bananas can provide 32 milligrams, in addition to Vitamin C and fiber

Other food sources which can help with aches and pains in perimenopause are buckwheat, containing malic acid which fights tired sore muscles. Arrowhead Mills makes an organic buckwheat.  You can also buy a non-GMO, organic bulk from Mulberry Lane Farm..  Pineapple (one of my favorites) contains bromelain, an enzyme which helps reduce swelling and inflammation often associated with chronic joint and muscle pain, in addition to high amounts of manganese as well.

I realize making dietary changes is not always an easy proposition when your tired, exhausted, and full of aches and pains from perimenopause and menopause.  However, the effort spent is always well worth it in my opinion.  And it certainly beats living your life on antidepressants and other drugs!

I can’t say enough about the Nutribullet as an outstanding and easy way to get much needed healthy minerals and vitamins into your body.  It also comes with an excellent recipe book which guides you through food sources to help not just with aches and pains in perimenopause, but with many other health issues as well.

If you are interested in a good supplement for magnesium (and many other vitamins and minerals), please check out HCF (Happy Calm Focused), a non-GMO, organic supplement which I also use and absolutely LOVE!!

And don’t forget to join us at Facebook!  “Like” us and be a part of the conversation!

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