Menopausal mood swings are no joke and if you feel you are suffering more than most then bioidentical natural progesterone can certainly put you back on track, but it could also be down to something as simple as a lack of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is hailed as a ‘wonder vitamin’ and of course we need it for strong bones and maintaining muscle mass, but it is also being studied in relation to diabetes, heart disease, various cancers and immune response.
Twenty minutes of sun exposure a day is recommended to get optimal amounts of vitamin D, but in northern climes like the UK we are unlikely to get the amount that we need.
Figures from the USA indicate that less than 10% of the population get the recommended daily amount and they are mostly outdoor workers who get the benefit of any sunshine that is going.
Vitamin D and Mood
A substantial benefit of vitamin D is that when given to women with moderate to severe depression they had substantial improvement in their symptoms. A very small study was reported at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting and was undertaken by Sonal Pathak, MD, an endocrinologist at Bayhealth Medical Center in Dover, Delaware.
Her findings was on women who ranged in age from 42 to 66 and all had previously diagnosed with clinical depression, and were on antidepressants. They were also being treated for either Type 2 diabetes or an underactive thyroid and had risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, such as low vitamin D intake and poor sun exposure.
The women did not change their antidepressant medications or other environmental factors that relate to depression and over eight to twelve weeks were given oral vitamin D. This gave them normal vitamin D levels after treatment, with all three women reporting significant improvement in their depression.
Vitamin D is not readily available from food – raw Atlantic herring is the best source – and nutritionist Patrck Holford recommends that those who live in the northern hemisphere or have decreased bone mass (osteoporosis) or a cancer risk take a 25mg capsule a day or one drop of an oral vitamin D supplement.
Progesterone and mood swings
In winter it is almost impossible to get enough exposure to raise vitamin D levels other than by supplementation. However mood imbalance can definitely be helped by increasing progesterone levels as that is the hormone associated with relaxation and calmness.
Low progesterone levels are linked to mid-life anxiety as our hormone levels start to shift and that is noticeable in the increase and severity of our mood swings.
Dr Phyllis Bronson, a clinician and biochemist, has conducted studies of mood disorders in women at midlife and she has found that progesterone can be an effective treatment for anxiety.
However, she emphasised the importance of using bioidentical progesterone, not a synthetic progestin, to achieve the best results.