Dietary intake and age at natural menopause: results from the UK Women’s Cohort Study

Yashvee Dunneram1, Darren Charles Greenwood2, Victoria J Burley1, Janet E Cade1

 

http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2017-209887

 

Abstract

Background Age at natural menopause is a matter of concern for women of reproductive age as both an early or late menopause may have implications for health outcomes.

 

Methods Study participants were women aged 40–65 years who had experienced a natural menopause from the UK Women’s Cohort Study between baseline and first follow-up. Natural menopause was defined as the permanent cessation of menstrual periods for at least 12 consecutive months. A food frequency questionnaire was used to estimate diet at baseline. Reproductive history of participants was also recorded. Regression modelling, adjusting for confounders, was used to assess associations between diet and age at natural menopause.

 

Results During the 4-year follow-up period, 914 women experienced a natural menopause. A high intake of oily fish and fresh legumes were associated with delayed onset of natural menopause by 3.3 years per portion/day (99% CI 0.8 to 5.8) and 0.9 years per portion/day (99% CI 0.0 to 1.8), respectively. Refined pasta and rice was associated with earlier menopause (per portion/day: −1.5 years, 99% CI −2.8 to −0.2). A higher intake of vitamin B6 (per mg/day: 0.6 years, 99% CI 0.1 to 1.2) and zinc (per mg/day: 0.3 years, 99% CI −0.0 to 0.6) was also associated with later age at menopause. Stratification by age at baseline led to attenuated results.

 

Conclusion Our results suggest that some food groups (oily fish, fresh legumes, refined pasta and rice) and specific nutrients are individually predictive of age at natural menopause.

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