Hot flashes are bothersome for the majority of perimenopausal women. Ranging from mildly uncomfortable to overwhelming, flashes can undermine your confidence, distract you from your daily routine, and leave you feeling sticky and unhygienic. Hot flashes occur due to hormonal changes that take place as a woman approaches menopause; these trigger sudden and seemingly random changes in body temperature that often come with flushing and sweating as the body attempts to cool down. The symptom could potentially plague you for up to ten years, so it's worth learning which vitamins can help keep hot flashes away.
Vitamin E is found in many food sources, including seeds, nuts, spinach, and soybeans. The term “vitamin E” is a collective one for a group of antioxidant compounds that offer many health benefits to the body, including the regulation of hot flashes. One 2007 study reported a significant decline in the occurrence of hot flashes after a week of vitamin E supplementation in comparison with a placebo.
It is not fully understood how vitamin E helps to regulate menopause symptoms, but some believe that it has estrogenic action to help restore levels of estrogen. This hormone decreases as the body reduces its hormone production in preparation for menopause.
Vitamin B12 is not directly able to keep hot flashes away, but as far as vitamins are concerned, it's an important one for energy levels and strength. A B12 deficiency is likely to cause weakness and fatigue, symptoms which can exacerbate the occurrence of hot flashes. Increase your B12 intake by consuming more clams, liver, cereal, and milk. If you continue to feel tired and weak in spite of this, consult your doctor, as your body may struggle to absorb the vitamin.
Like vitamin B12, vitamin C is not a direct antidote to hot flashes, but boosting your intake could help prevent hot flashes by strengthening your immunity and general health. Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and leafy greens, has significant antioxidant properties to help with growth, skin repair, and general healthy functioning in the body. The better your overall well-being, the less intense and frequent your hot flashes are likely to be.
While vitamins and other dietary factors undoubtedly play a role in managing hot flashes, common sense is important for combating the symptom, too. Where you can, avoid environments that are likely to be overheated, such as saunas or stuffy rooms, and try to situate yourself next to a window or near a door where possible so you can easily excuse yourself should a hot flash take place. Experiment with different ways to remain consistently cool, and stick with whichever methods work for you and your lifestyle.
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vitamin C: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002404.htm
- Office of Dietary Supplements. (2011) Vitamin B12. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/
- Office of Dietary Supplements. (2013). Vitamin E. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/