Lower Muscle Strength and the Postmenopausal Woman

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Build up your muscle strength

Gosh, I just found this on The Finchley Clinic Blog. Very pertinent to me as I have lost a lot of muscle strength since my major surgery in 2013. Below is an extract from the article: 

Only a fool would suggest that the menopause isn’t a complicated and often difficult time in a woman’s life. And, with all the hormonal changes going on in the female body at this point, bone health can become an issue. Many may not be aware, though, that muscle strength – or lack of it – can also be a concern thanks to ‘the change’. Both during and after menopause, oestrogen levels decrease and this can result in sarcopenia – a gradual, ongoing drop in muscle mass.

Is this enormously serious? Well, inside muscles, Vitamin D acts on special receptors, helping to drive up the mass and strength of the muscle as well as becoming involved in protein synthesis, which enables muscle contractions; thus, it plays a critical role in healthy muscle function. All this means that, due to Vitamin D deficiency, post-menopausal women can be at risk of potential frailty (and so reduced mobility) as well as frequent falls. And it can also help drive that particularly unpopular side-effect of menopause, weight gain – because it leads to a lower metabolism.

Inevitably then, help can come from boosting Vitamin D. A recent nine-month study, conducted at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil, found that post-menopausal women who had received Vitamin D3 supplementation enjoyed a 25% increase in muscle strength, while conversely, a similar group of volunteers receiving a placebo instead actually lost muscle mass – and experienced twice as many falls as those taking Vitamin D3.

Optimisation through supplementation

The results of these studies, as well as the fact IBS and muscle softness among post-menopausal women is common, is sadly not surprising (at least in this country) when one considers that four in every 10 (39%) of UK adults experience low vitamin D levels when the sun’s at its weakest in the winter. Indeed, ageing adults (the most likely to spend a good deal of time indoors) are most vulnerable to this nutrient deficiency4.

It’s pretty clear then that most people could probably do with optimising their Vitamin D levels. The trouble is, of course, this is easier said than done, as for half the year in many parts of the world (and, again, certainly in the UK), there isn’t much in the way of sunlight from which to gain it. So the answer? Supplementation.

http://www.thefinchleyclinic.com/blog/ibs-and-muscle-strengthening-what-vitamin-d-supplements-can-do-for-you/