Hot flashes, technically known as vasomotor flushes, are the most common complaint of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. According to the Mayo Clinic, 65 percent to 75 percent of perimenopausal women experience hot flashes. They occur due to enlarged blood vessels sending more blood around the body. Another cause of hot flashes is an irregular level of estrogen and progesterone. Hot flashes can be triggered by certain things in the diet, including hot spicy food, caffeine and alcohol. Other triggers include anxiety, stress and anger. You can take a series of vitamins to reduce the severity or the number of hot flashes.
Vitamin B-5, also known as antothenic acid, plays an important role in the maintenance of normal adrenal gland function. This aids in the regulation and synthesis of hormones. Regulating hormones such as estrogen and progesterone reduces the likelihood of hot flashes. Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA), another B-complex vitamin, has been shown to promote circulating levels of the body's own estrogens modifying estrogen metabolism. The best dietary sources for Vitamin B-5 are poultry, fish, whole-grain breads, whole grain cereals, legumes, avocados, nuts, cheese, potatoes, eggs, milk and bananas. Wheat germ, rice bran and milk are good sources of PABA.
Vitamin E may act as an estrogen substitute, thus regulating hot flashes. Based on a study conducted at Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran, Iran, vitamin E is recommended as an alternative treatment of hot flashes. Vitamin E replenishes electrolytes lost through perspiration during hot flashes and provides cellular protection from oxidative stress, which lessens hot flashes. Lila E. Nachtigall, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, recommends starting with 400 international units twice a day (a total of 800 international units). Because vitamin E is fat soluble and can become toxic from overdose, consult a physician before starting supplementation. Good dietary sources of vitamin E are wheat germ, wheat germ oil, safflower oil, whole-grain breads and cereals, peanuts, walnuts and almonds.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that acts as a powerful antioxidant to help reduce inflammation and hot flashes. Vitamin C is essential for optimal functioning of the adrenal glands, an important source of post-menopausal hormone production. Leveling out the hormone production helps regulate hot flashes. Some powerful dietary sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, broccoli, berries, bananas, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, spinach, watermelon and green leafy vegetables.
The chemical structure of isoflavones is very similar to that of estrogen. When estrogren drops--creating the symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes--isoflavones can compensate by binding to the same receptor as estrogen would have. A Finnish study published in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal determined that patients with frequent hot flashes should consider isoflavone supplements to help alleviate initial hot flashes. Isoflavones are found in soyfoods. Good sources of isoflavones can be found in soy nuts, tempeh and red clover.