Bones, Joints and Muscles in Menopause
Estrogen & Healthy Bones
During menopause, the levels of estrogen decline. Estrogen assists the maintenance of healthy, strong bones and also has many important functions within the body.
Estrogen helps bones to absorb the calcium they need to maintain their strength and health as well as helping calcium to be stored in the bones. Estrogen also aids in the efficient use of calcium by the cells.
During menopause, the declining levels of estrogen in the body can result in more porous bones which can increase the chances of fractures and bone breaks. It is therefore important to eat adequate supplies of calcium.
Calcium is need to maintain health and strength and is an essential mineral. It helps to:
- Producing strong bones, teeth & nails.
- Helps with muscle contraction.
- Assists with the clotting of blood.
Calcium is an essential mineral substance that is required for normal functioning but cannot be made by the body and so its supplies have to come from the food we eat.
Food Sources of Calcium
Calcium can be found in high doses in the following foods:
- Cow's milk
- Blackstrap Molasses
- Dried figs
- Baked Bean
- Chick Peas
Calcium & Bone Loss
Calcium is one of the highest content minerals of bones. Calcium is also used by the muscles in the body when they contract. If there is insufficient calcium circulating in the blood for muscles to do their work, they start to use up the calcium stores in the bones.
Calcium is also used in the circulation system for blood clotting, in the nervous system to send nerve impulses, and in the glandular system to assist with secreting hormones.
Bone loss results from calcium being borrowed from bones. Prolonged borrowing from bone calcium for these processes speeds bone loss. To minimize bone loss it is important to maintain high doses of calcium in your diet.
Calcium during Menopause
As estrogen helps cells in the body to use calcium efficiently, when there is a reduced amount of estrogen, there may be more calcium taken from the bones for muscles, blood and nervous system use.
It is important during menopause, to ensure that you are taking adequate doses of calcium, as estrogen levels in the body have lessened.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and Vitamin D work hand in hand. Vitamin D is needed for proper calcium absorption and Vitamin D works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Without adequate supplies of calcium and Vitamin D, bone thinning can occur. The body uses calcium once it has been extracted from the foods.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and one of the places that it is stored in the body is the fat tissues underneath the skin. Sunlight on the skin activates the production of Vitamin D.
The Functions of Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a key part in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous which are both minerals found in their highest quantities in bone. Vitamin D also plays a crucial role in bone growth and the maintenance of liver and kidney health as well as contributing to the healthy functioning of the thyroid gland and the immune system.
Food Sources of Vitamin D
Many food sources such as margarine and milk, often have Vitamin D added so people get sufficient quantities in their diet. Food sources of Vitamin D include:
- Fish liver oil
- Egg yolks
- Milk fortified with Vitamin D
- Cod liver oil.
- Sesame Seeds
- Tuna fish canned in oil
- Sardines canned in oil
Osteoporosis in Menopause
The word osteoporosis literally means "porous bones." Osteoporosis occurs frequently in women following the Menopause when there is a declining level of estrogen. Estrogen helps to strengthen bones and can slow down the onset of osteoporosis. Over time, bone mass, and therefore bone strength, decreases, and as a result, bones become fragile and break easily.
Herbs that help Osteoporosis
Calcium & Vitamin D supplements work together. Dandelion Tea can aid the digestion of Calcium and will ensure your body uses the calcium ingested. Nettle Tea will help to keep the bones strong.
Green food powders can be added to your daily favourite fruit or vegetable juice and are mineral-vitamin rich and full of natural proteins and easily absorbed vegetable calcium.
Aching bones are usually due to lack of calcium, so ensure that you are ingesting enough of all types of calcium, magnesium, boron, Vitamin K and Vitamin D. 20 minutes a day spent exercising in sunlight will add considerably to your production of Vitamin D and therefore the strength of your bones.
Sore Muscles in Menopause
You can relieve Sore Muscles by massaging Deep Tissue Repair Oil into the area.
Stretching Exercises and an Exercise Routine preceded by a dropperful of St. Johns Wort tincture will help to prevent muscle aches and will build up the strength of your muscles. Dong Quai Tincture used daily may help achy, spasming muscles. Sore muscles, aching bones and swollen joints often indicate the need for a cleanse, exercise or change of diet.
Swollen Joints in Menopause
It is best not to ignore aching, swollen joints as these can, in some cases, be indicators of worsening osteoporosis, kidney weakness or an immune system dysfunction. Dandelion Root helps to improve joints and bones. It can be taken as a tea, capsule, coffee or tincture. For joint inflammation try Saw Palmetto tincture as Saw Palmetto contains compounds that directly inhibit joint inflammation. Red Clover tea or tincture can help sore joints.