What supplements do you recommend for menopause?
For perimenopause, menopause and for any woman in her 40s, I recommend the following:
- Vitamin D. This is the single most important supplement for perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. Due to low declining levels of oestrogen as we get older and during menopause, there is an increased risk of sarcopenia (weak muscles), osteopenia (weak bones) and osteoporosis (brittle bones). Vitamin D protects against this. Having a strong musculoskeletal system as we age is one of the key factors that will keep us independent. Low Vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of falls and fractures. A fracture may not seem like a “big deal” but a hip fracture can be a life threatening event resulting in prolonged hospital admissions increasing risk of hospital acquired infection and blood clots. Hip fractures result in long periods of rehabilitation. As women, it’s something we are at risk of and we want to avoid. Less serious but very bothersome is a fracture of our wrist- commonly called a Colle’s fracture. Having to wear a cast for weeks means pain, no driving, we can’t care for ourselves or family. It’s certainly something I want to protect myself against. This is why Vitamin D is the single most important supplement for perimenopause and menopause.
- Next up is omega-3 fatty acids. These help to support heart, brain and gut health as well as supporting hair, skin and nails. Heart disease is common in peri- and postmenopausal women. Oestrogen is “cardioprotective” meaning it protects our heart. But as we get older our oestrogen levels decline putting women at high risk of heart disease as we age. Indeed women in this age group are the cohort in society most likely to experience a heart attack, the leading cause of death in Ireland. Omega 3 Fatty Acids reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and therefore protect our heart whilst also having the additional benefits of supporting, brain, gut, hair, skin and nail health.
- If you’re not taking a lot of animal products in your diet due to health concerns i.e. the increased risk of colorectal cancer with processed meat, add Vitamin B12. It reduces tiredness and fatigue, supports red blood cell formation, our nervous system and immune function.
- Folic acid is also worth considering. Everyone associates folic acid with pregnancy but low folate at any stage of life can result in tiredness, low mood, a weakened immune system and brittle nails and hair. I take folic acid daily to maintain healthy folate levels even though I’m not trying to conceive.
What supplements do you recommend during pregnancy?
- Folic Acid at least 3-6 months prior to conceiving is key. It can be continued throughout pregnancy and in to breast feeding if you choose to breastfeed. Folic Acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects like Spina Bifida in developing babies. Ireland has one of the highest rates of neural tube defects in the world and appro 50% of women aren’t taking folic acid at time of conception. Folic Acid from Supplements Made Simple lasts for a full 7 months working out at about 2 euros a week or 7 cents a tablet!
- Vitamin D; deficiency in pregnancy increases risk of pre-eclampsia, preterm birth and gestational diabetes. Having a normal vitamin D level supports a healthy pregnancy. Supplements Made Simple vitamin D is available in a sweet sublingual spray for any women experiencing nausea during pregnancy. I know taking tablets can be difficult when you’re experiencing nausea so I designed the vitamin D spray specifically to meet this need.
- Omega 3 fatty acids to support brain development of developing baby and support a health pregnancy. Omegas are an important supplement for pregnant women who are often avoid fish and seafood during pregnancy. Omegas also support brain development of breastfed babies
- Vitamin B12; the body has a higher demand for Vitamin B12 during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Vitamin B12 is water soluble so it’s lost in breast milk meaning breastfeeding mothers are at risk of deficiency. Our Vitamin B12 has a lovely fruity taste in an easy to take spray.
What do you recommend for children and teenagers?
- Vitamin D to support immune system. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of respiratory tract infections. Our Vitamin D is available in a sweet spray which children and teens love.
- For children and teenagers who don’t eat a lot of red meat or animal products, check out our Vitamin B12. Children love our fruity Vitamin B12 spray to reduce tiredness and fatigue as well as supporting red blood cell formation and immune function.
- Omega 3 fatty acids for older teenagers who can swallow capsules. Omegas support brain function. They’re my top pick for exam season!
What can I take for low mood and fatigue?
Firstly, attend your GP or practice nurse to discuss your symptoms. Once you’ve seen them to rule out serious causes of low mood, tiredness and fatigue, I recommend the following…
- Vitamin B12 which is proven to reduce tiredness and fatigue
- Vitamin D is also worth adding. Low Vitamin D levels are associated with anxiety and depression.
- Folic Acid. Low folate levels are also associated with low mood and anxiety.
- Omega 3 fatty acids support gut and brain health. We know that a healthy gut can support our mood and brain health. Omegas support this important brain-gut connection
What do you recommend for new moms?
Firstly, congratulations on your new baby! For new moms I recommend:
- Vitamin D for immune support. The last thing we want when caring for our new baby is to come down with coughs, colds or flus. Vitamin D supports a normal immune system.
- Omega 3 fatty acids for hair skin and nails, gut and brain health. Postpartum hair loss is common (caused by a type of hair loss called Telogen Effluvium). Whilst this usually improves with time, adding Omegas for hair, skin and nails can help.
- Vitamin B12 to reduce tiredness and fatigue . It’s an exhausting time with broken sleep and a lot to learn about the new little person in our life! It’s such a beautiful yet tiring time. Vitamin B12 reduces tiredness and fatigue.
What do you recommend for BreastFeeding?
VitaminB12. Vitamin B12 is water soluble meaning is readily passes from mom to baby in breastmilk. This means that mothers can become low in B12. Low B12 can cause tiredness and fatigue. Taking a vitamin B12 supplement helps to support a normal immune system, red blood cell formation and reduces tiredness and fatigue.
I also recommend omega-3 fatty acids as omega-3 fatty acids support brain development in breastfed babies.
Whilst vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning it doesn’t pass as readily from mother to baby in breastmilk, there is some depletion of vitamin D during breastfeeding. Therefore, I recommend vitamin D for breastfeeding mothers also.