What is menopause?
Menopause is when a woman has ran out of eggs. Women have approximately 400 eggs and every month an egg gets released. So around the age of 51/52 they run out of eggs. This means no more menstruation and no chance of pregnancy. Instead the woman gets hot flushes, vaginal dryness, vaginal atrophy, mood swings, weight gain, loss of libido, bone loss and loss of muscle tissue.
What is actually happening?
As previously discussed in Female Hormones blog post, there are 3 main hormones involved; oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone. Typically oestrogen and testosterone levels drop 40% - 50%, progesterone drops between 70% - 90%. Progesterone counters-acts with oestrogen, they work synergistically and balance each other out. As a woman enters into menopause, the hormone levels become unbalanced, even though oestrogen levels have dropped compared to pre-menopausal level, they become oestrogen dominant. This is because progesterone levels have dropped much more significantly. This causes a lot of the menopausal symptoms in the body.
The ovaries produce the female hormones - oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone. The adrenal glands also produce these hormones in smaller amounts. They can be used as a back up for the ovaries, so when a woman's hormone levels drop, they can be topped up to the correct amount by the adrenals. A woman does not need the same amount of these hormones when they are no longer producing eggs because they are no longer doing the same functions. However, if your adrenal levels are weak when you enter this stage of life then you will experience menopausal symptoms more remarkably. If your adrenal glands are in a good state as you enter into the menopause then you are less likely to experience hot flushes and other symptoms, but perhaps it is already too late for that?
If you are not yet in the menopause then it is worth preparing yourself so that you do not get symptoms and sail through. Oestrogen also comes from fat so excess weight going into menopause will mean oestrogen levels will not drop so dramatically, this widens the gap between oestrogen and progesterone, meaning a likelihood of increased symptoms. However, going on a low fat diet will negatively affect your hormones as they are all manufactured from “good” fats called high density lipoprotein, also known as "good" cholesterol. This comes in the form of avocado, oily fish, flaxseeds and eggs, (more listed below), they are all essential fats.
What affects menopausal symptoms?
1. Xeno-oestrogens disrupt the endocrine system (hormonal system) - they mimic oestrogen in the body. They lock in to oestrogen receptors and tell the body that oestrogen levels are higher than it really is. They are in shampoos, inorganic livestock, pesticides, eye shadows, inorganic beauty products, BPAs in: coffee cups, microwave containers, water bottles, cookware. They are everywhere!
Symptoms of xeno-oestrogen dominance, (which causes oestrogen dominance), are headaches, brain fog, hot flushes, endometriosis and fibroids. All of which could be thought of as symptoms of menopause, so what you may think are symptoms of menopause may actually be xeno-oestrogens. Either way, they are definitely exaggerating any symptoms.
2. Life style choices, for example healthy eating and food quality. Firstly, you cannot get all you need from eating healthily, a UCLA study found spinach in 1953 had 43X higher mineral content that spinach grown in 1997. This is due to soil depletion, moreover, our digestive systems have been impacted by other pollutants and so most of us cannot absorb nutrients the way we could have in 1953. Secondly, we consume much more refined sugar, wheat, dairy, caffeine, simple carbohydrates, alcohol and table salt than ever before Both these factors impact the endocrine system and cause internal stress resulting in the excess levels of the stress hormone, "cortisol," being released from our adrenals. The adrenals and the liver should be able to take over some of the production of oestrogen and progesterone from the ovaries, but when the adrenal system is overworking by producing extra stress hormones, it does not have the capacity to produce adequate amounts of oestrogen and progesterone. This then impacts the liver. The liver is not able to do its jobs properly, some of the jobs of the liver involve regulating the female hormones, (more on the liver later). This again produces more cortisol, which is a dominant hormone and so takes priority over other hormones, therefore imbalancing other hormones in the body.
3. Stress! Everyone is stressed, even when you do not feel stressed you probably are! For hormones to be balanced you need to take care of the endocrine system by consuming B vitamins and essential fatty acids. Other lifestyle stresses such as alcohol, smoking, stimulants, working, commuting, electrical devices, children, holidays, media, action tv programmes and films, food and drink (as mentioned above) etc, will also produce more cortisol. Cortisol supports the ovaries but when you get a spike of cortisol it is damaging, for example, it destroys bone which can lead to osteopenia, osteoporosis or arthritis. These conditions are common in menopausal women. Increases in the stress hormone cortisol, also reduce the amount of vitamin C in the body, as this is needed by our adrenals, therefore vitamin C is not able to do all its other necessary processes such as forming cartilage and healing the body. Cortisol also messes with our sleep cycles so we do not get adequate sleep, at the right time, for long enough, etc, causing more stress, more cortisol and more menopausal symptoms.
In addition, lack of exercise, or the “wrong” sort of exercise puts stress on our endocrine system. Many women feel they put on weight when they hit menopause and do long cardiovascular work outs which puts more stress on the body causing excess cortisol to be released which knocks off other hormones. The build up of cortisol is toxic, which causes more stress and more cortisol, this can go round and round in circles if it is not addressed properly. As a defence mechanism, the body surrounds the toxic cortisol with fat and pushes it to the middle of the body creating a form of loose muscle tissue around the middle, it is not all fat but is a loss of muscle tissue, known as atrophy. So the long runs that a menopausal woman actually does the opposite to the desired outcome and causes them to become more round in the middle. Furthermore, if we also have a high sugar diet, when our blood sugar drops our bodies will release cortisol again to rebalance our blood sugars levels. Both blood sugars and cortisol are being released quickly but not being used when doing the wrong exercise. Cortisol is released because it needs to get adrenaline under control. The adrenaline with insulin will cause our blood sugars to become out of control. This again goes to the middle of the body, where the fat cells are. This causes blood sugar imbalances as the body is constantly under stress and trying to keep up with the constant changes. This puts another big strain on the liver.
The liver has over 500 roles in the body which cannot be performed optimally when overloaded, for example, it will avoid detoxification, getting rid of excess oestrogen, expelling heavy metals and metabolising fats. Symptoms of a malfunctioning liver include headaches, hot flushes, migraines, fat stored around the middle, waking up between 1am and 3am, also knowns as “liver time." These are the same as menopausal symptoms, so what we might think are symptoms of menopause could be a dysfunctional liver. Menopausal symptoms could be treated by working on the liver. It is also very important to support the small intestine.
The intestines are the area of the body which absorbs substances in the body. They are the first line of defence against xeno-oestrogens. It works together with the liver to extract excess oestrogen. The liver breaks down the toxins and passes them into the large intestine as waste, so having a healthy intestinal wall is important to stop toxins passing through the intestinal wall. Moreover, having lots of good bacteria in the gut to break down the toxins and stop the passing through the wall is essential. Having a lot of good fibre, not roughage or gluten, is important to help push faeces through the gastrointestinal tract.
So what can help the menopause?
Please note that all dietary changes and nutritional supplementation is always better when tested through Kinesiology as it eliminates guess work by communicating with the central nervous system via munual muscle testing, but below are some suggestions as a "one size fits all."
Firstly, drink filtered WARM water and lemon to start detoxing the body.
Next, eat food that support the liver;
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and avocados for essential fatty acids and mega oils
Lemons and limes for Vitamin C and Vitamin E
Gluten free grains, eg Millet, Buckwheat, Cassava, Quinoa, Amaranth for fibre
Oils such as flaxseed, hemp, coconut
Next, eat food high in phytoestrogens, (previously discussed in the “Female Hormones,” blogpost.)
These are natural compounds which are found in foods, they are plant oestrogens which have a similar molecular structure as human oestrogen. Simply put, phytoestrogens such as Genestein balance oestrogen by interacting with the oestrogen receptor sites. It blocks the uptake of excessive oestrogen, and corrects inadequate amounts. In both cases it blocks xeno-estrogens. Japanese women eat some fermented soya products regularly, such as tofu and miso; they do not have a word for “hot flushes,” as they rarely have them. It also protects against breast cancer and osteoporosis. But eating more than 2 tablespoons per day is not recommended. Nutritionists saying that all soya is bad for you are simply wrong, BUT it does depend on what type of soya and where it is sourced from, which can be tricky.
Increase foods high in phytoestrogens (to increase, or lower human oestrogen levels and remove xenoestrogens):
Leafy green cruciferous vegetables - broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, fennel, cauliflower, pak choi, sea kelp
Legumes - beans, peas, peanuts, lentils (hummus), runner beans
Alfalfa sprouts, runner beans
Lignans, found in seeds - flaxseeds (800x more than any other seed), linseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, non-GMO (important) soy beans, edamame
Dried fruits - raisins, apricots, dates
Non-GMO fermented soya products
Dark fruits - plums, grapes
Peaches, berries, eg strawberries, cranberries and raspberries
The Hormone Shake (click here for recipe)
What else can I do?
Use liquid chlorophyll and a daily probiotic, to cleanse and repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria.
Nourish your adrenals with high dosage vitamin Bs, vitamin C, such as Nutri-calm. Vitamin D, Calcium and Magnesium for strong, healthy bones. Vitamin C and vitamin E for collagen production. Vitamin E, which drops during menopause, it is stored in the pituitary gland which controls the adrenals. Taking vitamin E supports the adrenals and ovaries so will minimise menopausal symptoms.
Increase progesterone using herbal supplements such as Agnus Castus or Wild Yam. Wild Yam cream is a good natural remedy which can be applied to skin. DIM is a compound the body creates when you eat cruciferous vegetable will balance oestrogen levels and can be taken in supplement form.
Green juices, avoid raw vegetable and fruit unless you are juicing as they can irritate the gut and the bowels.
Nutrients you will need to boost up on include: trace minerals such as manganese, found in red raspberries; iodine, found in kelp; iron and selenium, found in alfalfa. These can be bought in supplement forms and tested using Kinesiology to find the right supplement and/or brand and/or dosage. These minerals can also be absorbed from other organic fruit and vegetables which can also be tested using Kinesiological techniques.
Decrease intake of xeno-estrogens (where possible)
Plastic water bottles
Organic and chemical free beauty products
Filtered water (tap water contains lots of chemicals and residue of all sorts of things - see this blog post)
Avoid chemical household products
Eat organic, grass fed meat
Thoroughly wash all fruit and vegetables to get rid of pesticides
How to control weight?
Weight is not just about the food you eat and the exercise you do but is also connected to our emotions which may need to be worked on using kinesiology.
Avoid foods that have a quick insulin released, for example, whole grain breads, sweet fruit, dairy, potatoes and other starchy vegetables, butternut squash, corn, green peas
Eat foods that are slow at releasing insulin, for example, protein (especially for breakfast), low starch, dark fruits and high quality fats - eat a rainbow plate of food.
Avoid wheat (use buckwheat, cassava), sugar (use maple syrup, date syrup, coconut sugar), table salt (use Himalayan salt), dairy milk (use almond, oat or non-GMO soya milk).
Avoid long, slow cardiovascular workout for longer than 20 minutes because this puts a stress on the system and therefore will release more cortisol which, as explained previously, goes to the belly. Long work outs use the glycogen (see blood sugar blog post) from the muscles that will also increase appetite and further disrupt blood sugars. Instead, do High Intensity Interval Training, (The Gym Project in Falmouth Business Park can help with this.)
Decrease stress, plan for pleasure, unplug from devices, ground yourself by walking barefoot on the earth, Epsom Salt baths, breathing techniques, turn off the news, blue light filters or blue light glasses for devices.
What else can you do?
Along with the recommendations to increase and decrease as listed above:
Eat a rainbow coloured plate of food.
Do not buy synthetic supplements from places like Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots unknown sources off Amazon or made by chemical companies such as Bayer-Monsanto.
Self test (after I have shown you how).
Nutritional supplementation - always best to test during Kinesiology session rather than guessing.
Drink more water - 2 to 4 litres of filtered pure water (invest in a water filter, either a whole house filter, a reverse osmosis filter or water distiller).
Put electronic devices away before it gets dark
Eat regular meals, sit down while eating - look at the ICV aftercare programme as this is important whether or not you have had this treatment.
Avoid alcohol, smoking, caffeine.
Do not go on a low fat diet, keep eating “good” fats.
Counteract cortisol, the stress hormone.
Do breathing exercises and stretching.
What can Kinesiology do?
Endocrine and nervous system balancing to decrease stress, (see this blog post) including lymphatic massage, emotional stress relief, meridian tracing and energy work; nutritional supplement testing, such as B complex, vitamin C, glandular nutrition, omega oils, probiotics and trace minerals.
Food testing (for foods listed above).
Liver balancing, hormonal balancing, digestive balancing, blood sugar balancing and many more methods of balancing.
I can show you how to test food on yourself as well and do other emotional and energy techniques.
Please do not expect this to be over in one session - this is a journey!