New Menopause Study: Vitamin D Builds Muscle Strength

vitamin d menopause muscleResearch studies on the benefits of vitamin D for postmenopausal women have had conflicting results, with some showing no benefit and others showing great benefits for muscle, bone, reduced falls and lower fracture risk.

Now a new study has emerged from researchers in Sao Paulo Brazil which has conclusively shown that vitamin D supplements can reduce loss of muscle, increase muscle strength, and lessen the risk of falls after menopause.

Vitamin D is known as the “Sunshine Vitamin” because spending time outdoors in the sun vitamin d3is known to increase vitamin D levels in the body via the skin.  Our ancestors spent a considerable amount of their time outdoors, but for the first time in history, large amounts of the world population spend most of their time inside their offices and homes.  This has lead to a widespread vitamin D deficiency.  Spending some time in the sun a few days a week is good, and when taking supplements, vitamin D3 is the best form.

Besides strengthening muscle and bone, researchers have also discovered that vitamin D helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and its deficiency has a role in the current global epidemic of sleep disorders. This makes vitamin D a vital benefit in insomnia, which is another condition that can often plague menopausal women.

The newest vitamin D study from Brazil focused on muscle strength in postmenopausal women and took place over a nine-month period.  It was a placebo controlled trial and was double-blinded – which means that neither the participants nor the researchers knew which women received the vitamin D and which didn’t.  Three types of tests were used to measure muscle strength: A chair rising test that measured leg strength when standing up from a chair, a total body x-ray, and a hand-grip test.

At the conclusion of the trial, the women who received the placebo ended up having reduced muscle mass and muscle degeneration of 6.8%.  They also had twice as many falls as the vitamin D group.  On the other hand, the women who took the vitamin D supplement had a major increase in their muscle strength of over 25% — even when taken 12 years after menopause. The results of the research were presented at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society.

Dr. L.M Cangussu of the Botucatu Medical School at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil said: “We concluded that the supplementation of Vitamin D alone provided significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle.”

Vitamin D has many vital roles in the health of the body, including supporting the heart, brain and nerves.  Additionally, a study from the Journal of Investigative Medicine found that vitamin D is a strong boost to immunity and that deficiency is common in autoimmune disease – a group of diseases where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. These include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

Foods containing vitamin D on a wooden background. View from above Some good vitamin D-rich foods include cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, mackerel, eggs and herring. The best supplement form to take is vitamin D3, as this is the natural form made by the sun on skin, rather than D2.

This natural health news is provided by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a publisher of nutrition articles and supplier of effective natural remedies since 2001. Nutrition breakthroughs makes Sleep Minerals II, the effective natural sleep aid with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3.

Insomnia Remedies: Studies Confirm Calcium and Magnesium Effective

calcium magnesium insomnia

According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), almost six out of ten Americans report having insomnia and sleep problems at least a few nights a week. Insomnia is defined as “An inability to fall asleep or remain asleep long enough to feel rested, especially when the problem continues over time.”

In an effort to combat this, as many as 25 percent of the people in the United States use medications to help them sleep. Most sleeping pills, especially when taken over long periods of time, can have multiple side effects. The drugs stay in the bloodstream, give a hangover effect the next day and beyond, and can increase the risk of car and work accidents. They also impair memory and performance on the job and at home.

From a nutritional perspective, several research studies have shown certain minerals to be an effective natural insomnia remedy to help people fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. James F. Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, writes: “A lack of the nutrients calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to return to sleep.”

Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study, published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep was achieved following the normalization of the blood calcium level.

William Sears, M.D. writes: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”

In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium, low aluminum diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. This was proven in a study done by James Penland at the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.

It’s important to note that a balanced ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health, and that these two minerals should be taken together in a two to one ratio (twice as much calcium as magnesium) for best results.

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale California, is someone who fought her own battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural insomnia remedies for relaxation and deeper sleep. The result was Sleep Minerals II, a sleep remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, combined with vitamin D and zinc.  The ingredients are formulated in a softgel with healthy oils, making them more quickly absorbable than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: *The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference.  I was regularly waking up at around 3:00 a.m. and couldnt go back to sleep. Now I wake up once to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours.*

Valerie H. of Santa Clarita, California says: *I had such bad menopause insomnia, it took me hours to fall asleep even though I was extremely tired. After a week of taking the Sleep Minerals it started to work really well. I fall asleep now within 20 minutes.*

For more information on Sleep Minerals II, click here.

 

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