B Vitamins (B 12 and other B vitamins) are necessary for both physical (including cognitive) and emotional health. When women experience heavier than normal periods they may find that a B vitamin deficiency results. The vitamin B group includes folic acid, B12, thiamine, and niacin.
B vitamins, especially B 1, 3, and 12 are needed to make myelin which coats nerve cells and makes them, and the nervous system, work properly. Serotonin (a neurotransmitter implicit in emotional wellness and sound sleep) is produced in part from vitamins B 6 and 12. And, B vitamins help relieve stress.
Bone health, which becomes more of a concern as women enter into menopause, is impacted by a lack of B vitamins. This is as B vitamins are necessary in helping the adrenal glands produce sex hormones, which keep bones strong and dense. Vitamin B 5, pantothenic acid, is especially important for bone health.
Even the liver needs B vitamins to help it break down and eliminate excess sex hormones, if these are deficient the liver may not work optimally and a hormone imbalance may result. Too much of the sex hormone estrogen can impact thyroid functioning negatively, leading to hypothyroidism.
Vitamin B deficiency is indicative by: poor concentration, anxiety and irritability, feelings of tension and an inability to manage stress well .
Symptoms of vitamin B 12 deficiency specifically are: vertigo, dizziness, hair loss, tingling in the extremities, poor appetite, heart palpitations, mouth sores and memory problems. Other causes of vitamin B12 deficiency are: vegan diet or vegetarianism, gastric surgery, and over use of ant-acids.
Vitamin B 6 is necessary to efficiently metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats and to support a healthy metabolism. Symptoms of vitamin B 6 deficiency specifically are: weight gain, irritability, depression, brain fog, and memory problems.
Sources of B vitamins:
B1: liver, eggs, fresh and dried fruit, vegetables (peas)
B2: rice, eggs, fortified cereals and dairy products (milk)
B3: milk/diary, eggs, meat, fish, whole grains
B5: whole grains, broccoli, potatoes, oats, eggs, chicken, beef (kidneys)
B6: avocados, bananas, potatoes, pulses and soya, whole grains, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, pork
B12: eggs, dairy products, meat and fish/shellfish (vegetarians can get B12 from sea vegetables and fortified foods)
Folic acid: green vegetables, avocados, asparagus, peas, chickpeas, brown rice, oatmeal, liver
If you wish to take a B complex supplement try to find one with 10 mg or more of B1 to B6, over 10 mcg of B12 and 200 mcg or more of folic acid.
References: 1 Health span website, webpage: Vitamin B12, iron and getting on top of menopausal hair loss. Accessed: www.healthspan.co.uk/menopause-advice/appearance/vitamin-b12-iron-and- getting-on-top-of-menopausal-hair-loss
2 Health span website, webpage: Soothing menopausal stress with vitamin B. Accessed: www.healthspan.co.uk/menopause-advice/depression/soothing-menopuasal-stress-with- vitamin-b
3 Health line website, webpage: B-well: why women in perimenopause need B-vitamins. Accessed: www.healthline.com/health-blogs/hold-that-pause/b-well-why-women-perimenopause-need-b- vitamins
The information on this site is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to take the place of medical advice or treatment. Seek out a qualified health care provider if you have questions or need help. Dr. Grant is not responsible for any possible health consequences of anyone who follows or reads the information in this content. Everyone, but especially those taking medication (over the counter or prescription) should talk with a physician before undertaking any changes to their lifestyle or diet (including taking supplements).