Generally, women experience the end of all menstrual bleeding and the start of menopause between the ages of 48 to 52, but some go through the change as early as their late 30's and 40's.. Women can expect to live one third of their adult lives after menopause, due to better health and natural holistic health support.
Some women have genetic good fortune. Even after entering menopause, they continue to make enough female hormone precursors from these precursors in their adrenal glands, and to make enough estrogen from these precursors in their fat deposits, so that they do not experience any symptoms or at most, only temporary hot flashes. These women are only about two or three out of fifteen and on the older side of the norm when they experience the change, fifty-one or fifty-two.
Strenuous dieting at this age is the worst way to preserve one's long term health and grace. Estrogen is stored in the body's fat cells. Some researchers differentiate between the Thin Women's Menopause and the Plump Women's Menopause, the latter usually being far less symptomatic.
In populations where women don't get carried away with wearing a size six dress when they're fifty-five and they still do regular exercise and they are not smoking, bone fractures are not much of a problem, according to research at University of California , San Diego.
Menopause is caused by the ovaries no longer producing estrogen. Perimenopause is the period before menopause, which occurs approximately between the ages of 35 to 50, but is more commonly thought of as the five to ten years before menopause It is characterized by several years of irregular cycles with no ovulation since the ovaries are at the end of their egg supply. Without an egg's presence , progesterone is no longer produced and therefore perimenopause is frequented by estrogen dominance, with side effects ranging from water retention, weight gain, mood swings, to fibrocystic breasts, fibroids or endometrial cancer, according to traditional medical thinking.
There is research and experience with thousands of women that shows that there is a nonpharmaceutical way to dramatically and permanently alleviate the symptoms of menopause by eating a diet that brings the body's cellular pH to a healthy alkaline level. The important and proven results create a balanced cortisol level and reduced output of insulin, the hormones most responsible for belly fat and weight gain, plus an increase in oxytocin the feel good hormone. While estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are major players in menopause, there are three other players
that are equally important and they are insulin, cortisol and oxytocin.
Insulin is a major hormone and it can affect many other hormones including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. so when it is out of balanced it effects these other ones too.
Women can become insulin-resistant as they approach menopause mostly because their bodies can no longer deal with high amounts of carbohydrates. Which means that the carbs that were once tolerated, are nor longer tolerated, even healthy ones like fruit, whole grains, potatoes or brown rice and will put on pounds where before they didn't.
When cells can't soak up the extra glucose because of insulin resistance, the liver has to deal with it by converting it into fat.
Insulin resistance lurks beneath many of the most common symptoms you experience during menopause including hot flashes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and weight gain. All of these are early symptoms of insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is also linked to other health problems such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, breast cancer, and endometrial cancer and has been implicated in Alzheimer's disease. With a combination of keto and alkaline eating it helps regulate insulin and reverse insulin resistance in one important way; it shifts the body into ketosis, which restores it to an insulin-sensitive state. This diet works by keeping the body's carbohydrate stores almost empty. Your body starts burning its own body fat for energy, helping to loose weight quickly. It also burns fat that is consumed through diet, such as healthy fats.
With insulin sensitivity there is less weight gain, it lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Hot flashes or night sweats don't tend to occur. It rebuilds bone health so there is less frailty and osteoporosis. Craving become a distant memory and there is more energy.
Cortisol is the key stress hormone and one that is the immediate responder in times of danger and stress. Cortisol increases the amount of blood sugar available for fuel and revs up heart rate in stress. After the danger passes it also functions as the cleanup crew to lower inflammation, a damaging side effect of the stress response. This is when it serves as the body's natural anti-inflammatory hormone.
But when cortisol stays elevated in the body for too long due to chronic, unresolved stress, over time it starts to suppress immunity, leading to an increase to colds and other illnesses. It throws gut flora out of whack and chronic elevated cortisol can lead to rapid aging, depression, adrenal fatigue, feelings of burnout and emotional problems. It robs the body of DHEA, progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. The net effects are increased glucose production, decreased lean muscle production, imbalances of estrogen and testosterone, low sex drive and desire and burnout.
When cortisol levels rise, you're likely to have food cravings. In women, those cravings tend to be strongest for carbs, especially sweets when you're feeling sad or moody, and crunchy salty chips when you're stressed and irritated.
During menopause, the body's reduced ability to control spiking cortisol ( with its effect of reduced insulin sensitivity) is what contributes to hot flashes, night sweats, weight gain, mood swings, anxiety, insomnia and more. Cortisol is directly related to weight gain. Switching to more alkaline foods and lifestyle habits curtails levels of cortisol, which then helps to curtail symptoms of menopause. You have got to stay alkaline and to make sure you can check your urine pH with pH test strips that can be bought at a pharmacy. Test your urine first thing in the morning and through out the day. Your urine pH goal should be in the 7 range in the morning.
This hormone is produced by the hypothalamus and secreted from the pituitary gland and other tissues, including the heart, uterus, and ovaries, and is the hormone of love bonding and connection. It counterbalances cortisol's negative effects. In 2008, Japanese researchers demonstrated that if you take a mouse and knock out the oxytocin receptors on its cells, the mouse becomes obese, even without eating any more food than it usually does. In another study, reported in 2013, showed that if you give humans or mice extra oxytocin, the hormone prevents insulin resistance and triggers weight loss. Chronic sugar intake reduces the amount of oxytocin that your body makes in response to food.
Oxytocin is the hormone of love, bonding, and connection. It's the hormone that fills us during childbirth so we fall madly in love with our newborn. It also surges with orgasm, laughter, play, hugging, caressing your pet and giving. It's an anti-aging hormone too. Oxytocin is commonly activated by warm temperatures. Researchers have found that warm environments and induced sweating activate specific oxytocin producing parts of the brain. Socializing churns up the oxytocin when you're in large social gatherings. Exercise also increases Oxytocin and helps counterbalance cortisol's negative effects. Oxytocin is very involved in satiety and the happy feeling of being full and satisfied after a meal. When you eat there are various hormones that are stimulated, including insulin, leptin and cholecystokinin (CCK). As digestion begins, leptin and CCK signal the brain via the vagus nerve, the neural "highway" that runs up and down the trunk of your body and shuttles hunger and appetite impulses between your brain and gut. In response, the hypothalamus (the appetite control center in the brain) releases oxytocin, which then helps produce that happy, full feeling in your tummy. Suddenly you're less hungry.
In a 2013 review of the effects of Acupuncture on the neuroendocrine system, showed yet again, that it stimulates the release of endorphins and oxytocin leading to the reduction of stress and pain.
Vitamin C is an easy way to optimize and increase your levels of oxytocin. One 2002 study found that it improved mood and reduced stress. It is found in citrus fruits, green peppers, tomatoes, cauliflower and cabbage which are all good alkalinizing foods too.
Vitamin D is actually technically a hormone. Research shows that the three brain hormones that affect social behavior, serotonin, oxytonin and vasopressin are activated by vitamin D. Some researchers believe that autistic children have low levels of oxytocin because they are deficient in vitamin D.
The reason oxytocin is an anti-aging hormone is that it increases cellular regeneration and health, plus prevents microbes from invading the cells.
Discomforts of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, poor memory or poor concentration, depression, easily irritated and anxiety can be relieved with Acupuncture and needle free acupuncture along with diet and herbal supplements.
NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND HORMONES
Hormone changes affect neurotransmitters. When neurotransmitters are out of balance, this affects mood, cognition, attitude, coping skills, energy, sleep, overall health and more.
When estrogen falls, levels of serotonin drop, the feel good neurotransmitter and this will affect our mood and we easily get irritated and our appetite increases. Healthy gut bacteria helps boost brain levels of serotonin so you want to eat plenty of probiotic rich foods, such as fermented foods, yogurt with active cultures of friendly bacteria. Also foods containing the amino acid tryptophan such as turkey, dairy, dates and sunflower seeds can help boost serotonin. Also flaxseed oil, cold water fish and walnuts are recommended to help elevate serotonin levels.
Dopamine and Testosterone
Dopamine is another neurotransmitter that affects pleasure, motivation, drive and enthusiasm. When it falls it is linked to a sense of emptiness, sadness, irritation and boredom. When it is released it triggers the production of testosterone a critical hormone for sex drive. Foods that help elevate dopamine levels through nutrients are beets, edamane, nuts, eggs, dairy, meat and chocolate.
Gaba and Progesterone
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) gives your brain the peace and calm it needs. Progesterone acts on GABA receptors in the brain, but as progesterone declines with age, so does GABA. This leaves you prone to anxiety, depression, and poor sleep. Foods that boost GABA are cherry tomatoes, kefir, shrimp, green tea, lemon balm, ahwaganda, and any food high in omega-3 fats, such as salmon. GABA supplements can be taken at night to promote sleep if needed.
The goal of any menopausal health program should be twofold: to eliminate the bothersome symptoms of menopause and to prevent the degenerative ailments of osteoporosis and heart disease, that are associated with the postmenopausal period.
In various societies, older women traditionally eat certain foods to remedy menopausal side effects. In the south Seas, for example, once a day women of menopausal age eat papaya, which contains phytoestrogens. Studies are beginning to show that these plant compounds can be helpful in menopause.
Traditional diets in Japan also are rich in phytoestrogens. According to studies of Japanese women with traditional Japanese diets show that these women's bodies contain levels of plant estrogens 100 to 1,000 times the level found in Western women. It may be the reason these women don't have hot flashes is that they are eating a lot of weakly estrogenic substances all the time. These women also have less incidence of breast cancer, and one of the reasons that is being suggested for this is that there are other things in the plant foods that are anticarcinogenic. In these studies the higher estrogen levels were associated with intake of soybeans, soy products such as tofu and miso and boiled beans. Note here about the soy products. First for a long time they weren't GMO, where the plants are modified to survive being heavily sprayed with herbicides and pesticides. Also they are fermented forms of soy which is more digestible for humans and alters some of the substances that aren't healthful .
Here in the west when we have soy it is usually not fermented and people drink soy milk for health benefits or as an alternative to cow's milk, but one can get heart palpitations from drinking too much soy milk and eating too much soy.
Seeds are also high in essential fatty acids . A deficiency of these oils may be responsible in part for the drying of the skin, hair, vaginal tissues and other mucous membranes that occur with menopause. Good sources are flaxseeds, chia and pumpkin seeds. Flax seeds are also mildly estrogenic and are more digestible when they are ground. They should all be soaked for at least 15 minutes before mixing them in drinks, yogurt or salads.
Dong quai, a chinese herb, contains plant sterols that have estrogen like effects. Plant estrogens are estimated to be much weaker in strength then regular estrogen but they may have the good type of estrogen E3 estriol or a form of it. Dong quai, is available in health food stores in various forms. Ginseng is helpful in opposing fatigue and depressive symptoms. American ginseng is calming. Vitamin E is commonly used to relieve hot flashes along with primrose oil. Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid, which helps mediate hormonal activity. Women also obtain relief from hot flashes and sweats through acupuncture. If you want to go the natural way it would be helpful to consult an acupuncturist who is also a natural path so they can help you with the best herbs and with the doses, like here at Sunnyslope Healing Arts.
GET OFF GLUTEN AND GRAINS
Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, malt, brewer's yeast, and oats. It is a protein and can interfere with digestive health and eventually gut bacteria. It can trigger heartburn, autoimmune disorders, neurological and behavioral issues, skin issues, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue and other conditions.
Gluten is not the same as it was decades ago. Modern farming practices have blended varieties of wheat to create hybrids that grow faster, yield more, are more resistant to insects and creat fluffier bread. But they are higher in gluten and Americans eat grains for breakfast, lunch and dinner they are eating a lot of gluten. Our digestive system has a hard time digesting this much gluten and the new hybrids of grain.
Another reason to reduce or eliminate grains is because of myocotoxins. They are some of the most prevalent toxins in the environment and are chemicals produced by fungi, that often contaminate grains, nuts, beans, fruit, and coffee beans. Breathed in or ingested via food, mycotoxins cause symptoms such as weakened immunity, fever, pneumonia like symptoms, heart disease, asthma, sinusitis, cancer, memory loss, vision loss, chronic fatigue, skin rashes, depression, ADHD, anxiety, and liver damage.
There are many different types of myocotoxins. One very interesting form, zearalenone (ZEN), is considered a "mycoestrogen. This is because it has a molecular structure similar to estrogen. It can activate estrogen receptors and create reproductive system changes in both animals and humans.
ZEN has been used since 1969 in the U.S. cattle industry to boost animal growth rates, but it has been banned by the European Union. It has been linked to beast enlargement in humans. ZEN has been shown to promote breast cancer cell growth in estrogen-receptor positive cancers. It is also now connected to precocious puberty which is puberty that begins before age eight in girls.
Zen is found in grain products including breakfast cereal, bread, pasta, beer, and processed foods. So it is wise to leave wheat, barley and corn out of your diet.
Hot flashes, night sweats and insomnia from the hot flashes are difficult to deal with and are a result of the decreasing estrogen being produced by your body. They are even more severe when there are hormone disrupting pesticides in your body adding to the hormonal changes at this time. The liver can get bogged down with having to process the pesticides and toxins, making one more vulnerable to hot flashes, because estrogen is processed in the liver. A balance of estrogen and progesterone or progesterone supporting supplements or herbs is necessary to help with relieving hot flashes. If the supplemental estrogen is not challenged with some form of progesterone, the risk of cancer may increase.
Research has shown that bio identical hormone replacement is safe and does not cause cancer. The big fear that was promoted in the news and media was about supplementing synthetic estrogen and progestin which was causing a lot of problems for women but they did not differentiate between synthetic hormones and natural hormones nor how important it is to balance the two. However, if you want to avoid taking hormones there are herbs and supplements that can help you through the change.
ASPARAGUS OFFERS DETOXIFICATION SUPPORT AND EASILY ASSIMILABLE FOLATE FOR HELP WITH HOT FLASHES AND IRRITABILITY
Asparagus boasts the highest glutathione levels of any food and this is important because glutathione is concidered by some to be unmatched in removing poisons or toxins from the body.
This makes it helpful with hot flashes and irritability because it is assisting the liver in its job and helping it process all the hormone changes. Also in Traditional Chinese medicine when the liver and or the liver energy is not healthy the person is prone to more anger and irritability.
Asparagus also contains folic acid and it is important for many things. Research suggests we need folate to synthesize DNA, DNA repair and to methylate DNA and must be supplied through the diet.
Humans cannot synthesize folates except from the diet. This folic acid from asparagus has been shown to be helpful for hot flashes, depression and widely lowers homocysteine reducing risk for heart disease and cancer.
POWER OF MACA
Maca is an herb from Peru and has been an important staple for native Peruvians. In scientific research, it has been found to have healing powers. It is very alkalizing so it helps with the impact of burnout and chronic stress. Maca also supports hormone balance, sex drive, and mood and it decreases hot flashes. According to scientific research it improves female reproductive hormone function, boosts memory, eases depression, anxiety, PMS, and other menopausal symptoms, improves libido, enhances energy and fights fatigue, helps in the treatment of osteoporosis and metabolic syndrome, reduces blood glucose levels, works as an antioxidant, lowers blood pressure, protects the liver and immune system, fights tumors and optimizes ovarian function. Perhaps it is the reason Peruvian women are so hearty, healthy and tough.
The best natural defense against osteoporosis is to keep the acidity of your blood in proper balance. If you don't, your body will, by removing calcium from your bones to defend the pH balance in the blood. Blood acidity is caused, first and foremost, by chronic stress. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for any woman over forty-five faced with a high stress profession or personal demands to commit herself to some restorative relaxation measure. Acupuncture and holistic therapies can restore a deep relaxation and the Japanese needle-free magnet acupuncture treatment will also, turn your body from acidic to alkaline. Smoking, alcohol, and coffee also raise acid levels in the blood. Carbonated sodas and beef, both of which have a high phosphorus content, are particularly dangerous for postmenopausal women. A diet that emphasizes vegetables, complex carbohydrates, fiber, fish, and vegetable proteins are suggested.
If your diet is too acidic because say you're a habitual diet cola drinker then your body's overall pH load becomes overly acidic and can result in something called chronic low -grade acidosis. This indicates extreme acidity in your body. With it, a lot of your mineral levels, such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, are likely to be low. This is where negative impacts to your health hit hard.
ALKALINITY IMPACTS BONE HEALTH
If your diet doesn't supply enough alkaline minerals or they become depleted from a continued acidic eating pattern and lifestyle over time, your body is forced to pull alkalinizing mineral buffers (calcium and magnesium) from its primary mineral storage reserves - your skeleton- in order to provide vital minerals throughout your system to maintain blood pH balance. In a study published in 2005 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, both pre and postmenopausal women and older men eating an acid-forming diet were found to have lower bone mineral density in the spine and hip.
But is you eat more alkaline fooods, particularly vegetables, your bone density increases, protecting you from bone crippling osteoporosis. Many studies have been done supporting this conclusion. They found women who ate a vegetable rich diet were able to boost their bone mineral density. In these studies they found that vegetables were an important form source of calcium and minerals. In contrast, other studies have shown that diets high in dairy foods actually case a reduction in bone density.
Taking calcium supplements alone cannot undo the damage by the loss of estrogen during the period of accelerated bone loss. And contrary to conventional wisdom, exercise by itself is also ineffective in preventing bone loss. These were the results of a study on prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1991. The two regimens together, however, were found to be effective. An exercise program plus calcium supplements slowed or stopped bone loss. the best results were obtained when estrogen was combined with exercise: Bone mass was increased. and other symptoms like hot flashes and sleeplessness improved after three months.
Vitamin K has been found to inhibit the precipitous loss of calcium in postmenopausal women by up to 50 percent, in a study from the NE. Dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts are sources of Vitamin K.
Some researchers disagree with prevailing theories about supplemental calcium being beneficial for osteoporosis because of the following information.
Eskimos have the single highest rate of osteoporosis worldwide, yet they consume more calcium than any other culture on Earth. Their diet is composed primarily of fish, walrus and whale and it provides them high amounts of calcium ( over 2,000 mg a day ) because they boil and consume the bones. Eskimo calcium intake is twice the US RDA. Their vitamin D needs are also met through their diet which is rich in calcium and protein.
Norway, Europe, and America are right behind the Eskimos in terms of osteoporosis prevalence. Also nations with previously low-dairy and protein consumption rates who later rated high in dairy and protein consumption ( due to fast food modernization), osteoporosis incidence increased. Africa has the lowest osteoporosis worldwide, as well as the lowest protein and calcium consumption..
Stop taking Calcium or limit daily intake at 400 mgs. Here's why . Osteoblasts are special cells in charge of growing new bone for you. Studies show if we give them too much calcium, we greatly hamper the bone regeneration process. High calcium intake overburdens osteoblasts, leading to a lack of bone regeneration. A 12 year Harvard study of nearly 78,000 women, found that women who drank milk three times a day actually broke or fractured more bones then woman who drank little to no milk at all. Their hypothesis is that processing excessive amounts of calcium causes osteoblasts to die prematurely.
So avoid taking calcium or take under 400 mg with an equal amount of magnesium. Calcium without an equal magnesium is not absorbed and is harmful.
Our bones need other minerals besides Calcium and magnesium. Silica is a an important mineral for the whole body. From our skin to our arteries to our bones. It has been found in some studies that silica is the most important mineral for increasing bone density. Horsetail is the richest source of bone growing silica at 7% by weight. Silica from horsetail is the most important mineral for increasing bone density. Experience has proven it to dramatically speed up recovery from bone fractures, torn ligaments and injuries. In a human study, 122 Italian women took horsetail showing noticeable improvement in bone density.
People report no side affects from taking it, but research shows some people with kidney disease may not tolerate it. For dosage in taking horsetail it is best to consult a holistic physician who can test your body for the right dosage.
Numerous studies show bones release calcium to buffer acidic blood PH, caused by eating acidic food. Cucumber helps osteoporosis on two fronts as the most alkaline and silica rich vegetable of all. It is a good habit to start out your day with eating a whole cucumber.
Natto is the best digestible food source of Vitamin K2, an important nutrient to stop and reverse osteoporosis. There are two kinds of vitamin K and it is important to understand the difference between them. Vitamin K1 is the type found in dark leafy greens like kale and Swiss chard, however we only absorb 10% of K1 from dark leafy veggies. Vitamin K2 is hard to get from food with exception of natto. A single package of natto, about 40 grams, has approx 340 mcg of vitamin K2. Manufactures produce K2 supplements also but it occurs naturally in natto and has many beneficial enzymes as well, like nattokinase.
A study in the Journal of Nutrition, found women who ate more than four packets of natto per wek reduced bone loss on the thigh bone by 80% Natto or K2 is essential for those with osteoporosis. Studies reveal vitamin K2 to be more effective at building bone than calcium. Also a study from the Netherlands showed that those in the highest third of vitamin K2 intakes were 52% less likely to develop calcification of the arteries. K2 puts calcium back in the bones where it belongs. A healthy intestinal tract can produce vitamin K, but in most people it is not produced efficiently, therefore it must be supplemented by food or supplements.
Give up the highly acidic nature of soda and coffee. They are to blame for the osteoporosis surge. Our parathyroid gland signals bones to release calcium ( which is alkalizing ) when we become overly acidic. Diet coke and most sodas have an average PH of 2,8; acidic enough to clean rust off your car. Your blood PH must remain precisely at 7.4 or you will die in a few minutes. So when you drink a soda the body leaches calcium from the bones to correct an overly acidic condition. The Framingham Osteoporosis Study found women who drank cola everyday have lower bone density than those who drank it less than once a month.
Coffee One cup of coffee shows no loss in calcium, but habitual drinkers showed higher losses of calcium in their urine as the body tries to alkalize by releasing calcium. Green coffee or Yerba Mate is a better choice to maintain alkalinity for stronger bones.
Although osteoporosis is spreading through almost all cultures, it appears that environments with low levels of sunlight have a higher incidence of osteoporosis. Vitamin D 3 is suggested for bones and it can be easily supplemented with drops or capsules or 15 minutes of sun on both sides of your body morning 9 to 10 am or evening 4 to 6pm.
Walking is a healthy exercise, but it appears that the stress on your bones is not enough to keep those bones strong. Studies show that Tai Chi and Qigong are excellent weight bearing exercises to prevent osteoporosis. In Qigong and Tai Chi we bend at the knees putting weight over bone. A good osteoporosis protocol includes 30 minutes of one of these daily.