Feeling graceful and happy through menopause is possible! Lifestyle factors are key players and it’s never too early to start. Maintaining a healthy amount of muscle is a very smart thing to do. Eighty percent of people with osteoporosis are women. Strong muscles prevent falls and breaks. Moving your body in a variety of ways and with different loads will make your bones more resilient.
Facts on Food
After menopause, your body breaks protein down faster and it is harder to synthesize protein into muscle. All the more reason to stay active and engage in weight bearing routines regularly. This will help with the tendency towards insulin resistance that can occur as hormones shift. Estrodial in particular can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
A little known fact is that we have more trouble metabolizing fructose after menopause. This leads to more fatty acid circulating and results in elevated triglycerides as well as insulin resistance. If you are noticing any gut symptoms from fructose sweetened products it’s because they pull water from the gut into the bloodstream. Many sports drinks or bars have fructose. Some fruits and veggies are higher in fructose.
Hormonal Hot Spots
Sex hormones work with our stress hormones. For example, your adrenal glands and ovaries produce testosterone even as estrogen drops. Testosterone helps build strength so although it reaches its peak production earlier in life, we continue producing it thanks to the adrenals.
Estrogen plays in important role in metabolism. As it declines it becomes easier to accumulate abdominal weight. This is similar to the belly weight that chronic high stress creates. If you are constantly hungry it is because of the insulin resistance that occurs as estrogen drops. The hormone DHEA limits cortisol and encourages glucose to be used as fuel. As DHEA declines refining your diet makes sense.
Brain Fog & Memory
Our brain, and particularly the hippocampus has many estrogen receptors. The hippocampus is in charge of complex comprehension and planning. It makes sense that brain fog and memory issues emerge as estrogen declines. If you feel less on top of things take a rest day. Stress hormones will make these symptoms worse.
The nutrient choline is crucial for your brain, liver and methylation cycle. Eggs are an excellent source of choline especially soft yolks. Want more energy, attention and focus? Make sure you are consuming enough choline and check your genetics for the PEMT gene. Estrogen interacts with PEMT and helps convert phosphatidylcholine into choline. It also converts into phosphorylated serine which helps with cortisol regulation and insomnia.
Sleep is important and becomes difficult for many women through menopause. Part of the reason is that estrogen increases brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). As estrogen decreases you may struggle with comprehension and memory because BDNF supports neuron health. Being social and silly, having fun and moving your body, getting some deep sleep every night all support your neurons. Remember our brain can change at every age depending on how we stimulate them and choose to live.