What are the Best Vitamins for Menopausal Symptoms?

Bless menopause’s heart. While we know it means well, moving us out of our reproductive years and into midlife and beyond can be rough. And by “rough” I mean “dead-lord-why-is-this-happening-to-me-and-why-is-it-happening-to-so-many-parts-of-me?!” type rough. The nosedive your hormones are taking can not only give you a variety of symptoms but also do a number on your bones, heart, and other parts of your body. You could say that these organs have taken your estrogen and progesterone for granted and are doing the opposite of throwing a going away party for them. It’s time to tell your organs you’re still going to give them what they need to function well. Not only tell them, but actually provide it for them, from a new source: Vitamins. Not only can vitamins bolster your bodily systems, they can help ease your menopausal symptoms. Sit back and (try to) relax while I give you a list of the best vitamins for menopause, arming you with ways to keep your body strong, even through menopause. These vitamins are like tiny little dumbbells, strengthening your tissues and organs.

vitamins for menopause

What’s the Difference Between Vitamins for Menopause and Supplements?

Are vitamins and supplements the same thing? Yes, but only in the same way that a square is the same as a rectangle, or synth-pop is the same as rock & roll. Supplements, by their nature, amplify what you’re already taking into your body through your food, as detailed in this post on the 10 best supplements to take during menopause. Just as a square is a type of rectangle and Duran Duran is a specific rock band, vitamins are a type of supplement, as are certain minerals. Dr. Sara Gottfried says that: “Supplements are any product that adds nutritional value to your diet or augments health. Vitamins are a type of supplement. Other types of supplements include minerals, herbs [like black cohosh], or nutrients like fiber.” So if you’re already eating spinach five times a day and drinking gallons of probiotics, great … and also, wow! You probably don’t need a whole lot of supplements or vitamins. If, however, you’re lucky to get in a spoonful of protein powder or one serving of fresh vegetables a day, you’ll probably benefit a great deal by taking vitamins. Remember your mom telling you to “take your vitamins!” when you were little? Not to get all “mom” on you, but consider this a similar encouragement: your body deserves it! Just as Duran Duran gave a leg up to Warren Cuccurullo’s music career and in return was bolstered by his guitar skills, the more you help your body out, the more it can help you. (Who knew learning about menopause could contain so many references to English new wave music?)

Vitamins for menopause can be your new bestie, along with self-care, regular exercise, good nutrition, sunlight, and therapy (if needed). You have a lot of new besties, so who needs those fickle hormones anyway? Certain vitamins are best for strengthening certain parts of you and relieving specific menopausal symptoms, so let’s dive into which vitamins work best for what.

What’s the Best Vitamin for Menopausal Symptoms?

Looking for the perfect natural fix, like vitamins, for your menopausal maladies? I hate to say it, but there is no one magic pill to treat your symptoms. The good news? There are lots of vitamins for menopause that can make your ride on the Big M Express run smoothly. Let’s take a look at the options to support everything from your pelvic health to fatigue to mood swings, oh my! 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important for pelvic health because, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup, it helps strengthen your blood vessel walls and neutralizes excess estrogen (who would’ve thought that “estrogen dominance” could be a problem?).  

Strengthening your pelvic floor is a way of fighting urinary incontinence that may come with menopause. Some menopausal people even experience uterine prolapse, where the pelvic floor stretches and weakens to the point that the uterus is no longer supported and it protrudes into the vagina. Vitamin A and pelvic floor stretching to the rescue!

Vitamin A also is necessary for healthy bones, according to HealthLine.com, but a 2002 study involving more than 72,000 postmenopausal women showed that too much of it can be a bad thing. If, however, you get your vitamin A from beta-carotene, your bones aren’t at any higher risk of breaking than normal, and it can help maintain bone health during postmenopause. You get vitamin A from beta carotene by eating orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. If you take a vitamin A supplement, the daily recommended dose is 5,000 IU. 

Vitamin B12

As you age, your body loses some of its ability to absorb vitamin B12. This can contribute to symptoms like

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Balance problems
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Dementia

Consider taking vitamin B12 as a way to guard against a number of menopausal maladies. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 is between 2.4 micrograms (mcg) and 250 mcg daily. 

Vitamin B6

Otherwise known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 can help boost serotonin levels in your brain. Since serotonin is a chemical your body makes to transmit brain signals, and serotonin levels drop as women age, lower serotonin levels can play a part in your mood swings or depression. However, a dose of up to 100 mg a day can help mitigate those symptoms. 

Vitamin B complex

As long as we’re talking about B vitamins, you’re probably wondering why you shouldn’t just take a whole B vitamin complex. That would include B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B5 (pantothenic acid). A 2018 study in Poland showed that “deficiencies in any of [the] B vitamins can disturb the complex regulatory network maintaining one-carbon metabolism, resulting in a reduced methylation status within the relevant tissue, hyperhomocysteinaemia, and pathological formation of DNA, which, in turn, may contribute to adverse health outcomes in menopause.” In other words, 1) it’s called vitamin B complex for a reason, and 2) yes, a whole B-vitamin complex can help reduce heart and cognitive problems. In other words, taking a B-vitamin complex now can help reduce some complex problems later!

Dr. Northrup, author of The Wisdom of Menopause, recommends these dosages, so if you take a vitamin B complex, make sure it has these amounts of individual B vitamins in it:

  • B1: 8-100 mg
  • B2: 9-50 mg
  • B3 (niacin): 20-100 mg
  • B5 15-400 mg
  • B6: 40-80 mg
  • B12: 20 mcg/day

Other B-complex vitamins include:

  • Methylated folic acid: 400-1,000 mcg
  • Biotin: 40-500 mcg
  • Inositol: 10-500 mg
  • Choline: 10-100 mg

If you’re not sure which dosage is right for you, start at the low end and work your way up until you feel better or start experiencing problems like loose stools. Lower your dosage from there until you hit your sweet spot.

Vitamin C

I like to think of antioxidants like vitamin C as soldiers in a war against free radicals—crazy molecules jumping around everywhere trying to cause multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, if there are too many of them. Antioxidants keep them in check, making them a little less “free.” (Though just like my hippie friend Susan going from high school to college, no less radical.) Because vitamin C, like vitamin A, helps strengthen blood vessel walls and neutralize excess estrogen, it can also help strengthen your pelvic floor.

Vitamin D

This may be the powerhouse of all menopause vitamins. Although we know that our bodies make vitamin D after being exposed to sunlight, that’s rarely enough for menopausal mavens. Suzanne Somers of Three’s Company fame says, in her book I’m Too Young for This! The Natural Hormone Solution to Enjoy Menopause, “Dozens of new studies have found that vitamin D3 affects human health in much more profound ways than was ever imagined.” It decreases your risk of bone fractures, bone pain, and softening of the bones (called “osteomalacia”), mostly because it helps your body absorb calcium from your intestines into your bloodstream. Promisingly, a 2010 study conducted on more than 9,400 men and women also showed that vitamin D supplementation helped reduce or even prevent the risk of cardiovascular disease. What D-lightful information!

Dosage recommendations start at 15 mcg (600 IU) of vitamin D and can go as high as 10,000 IU daily, so start low and work your way up until you find the dosage that works for you.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant like vitamin C, but it may also help reduce inflammation in your body, according to Healthline.com. Inflammation can cause stress, which may cause cell damage and increase your risk of depression, heart disease, and weight gain, all of which are common to menopause. The recommended daily dose is 200-800 IU.

Vitamin K

Apparently, we only like vitamins from the first half of the alphabet! Vitamin K—specifically, K2—is another bone-strength booster. It does this by removing calcium from the lining of the blood vessels and shuttling it into your bone matrix. Did you even know you had a bone matrix in you? I didn’t! In fact, it works with vitamin D to get calcium into your bones, where it belongs. Recommended daily dose? 180 mcg/day. Consider getting some, K?

What About Menopause Multivitamins?

If you’re wondering why not just take a multivitamin and be done with it, that’s definitely an option. I mean, fewer pills to swallow saves on gluping time, right? Ideally, however, the goal is to customize the vitamins you take to what your body needs, hopefully even basing what you take off of deficiencies shown in at-home or doctor-administered blood or saliva tests. Dr. Christiane Northrup reminds us that, as with supplements, therapy, exercise, and other approaches, some vitamins work better for some than others, and some seem to have no effect whatsoever. Give yourself some time to experiment to come up with the right combination. Of course, by “experiment,” we don’t mean “It’s college! Let loose!” Be sure to consult your doctor. 

One More Thing: Black Cohosh

Since so many people closely associate herbs with vitamins, black cohosh as an herbal complement to your vitamins is worth bringing up. 

As we mentioned previously in posts on the top 10 supplements to take during perimenopause and how to manage night sweats, black cohosh is one of the most popular herbal supplements for menopause. It may help reduce hot flashes, night sweats, irritability, and mood swings, although the jury’s still out on whether it’s more effective than a placebo, according to Dr. Tara Allmen. Though she’s no doctor, one of my perimenopausal friends found black cohosh to be a great first step toward tackling her night sweats and accompanying sleep problems. As always, consult with the pros before adding vitamins for menopause into your regimen. 

It’s a Wrap

Because, as my doctor puts it, “nutrients are absorbed and used in the body much more efficiently when they are found in food,” you’re best off getting your vitamins through your food. Food is, after all, much tastier than tasteless vitamin pills. (At least, the food we prefer to eat is.) But since we all know how hard it can be to prepare and eat fresh food for every meal, vitamin supplements can be a very good thing. Whatever helps you  show your body some love through the menopausal transition is a good thing. And we say, vit-amen!


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