HOLISTIC APPROACH TO HORMONES/MENOPAUSE
The fact about menopause and andropause is that our metabolism changes secondary to the shift in hormones. It can be a difficult transition, since the trend is towards weight gain. The average weight gain is 2.5kg over a 3-year period during this time, and most women 40 to 60 years of age are overweight or obese. In menopause not only do we develop more subcutaneous fat.(underneath the skin), by the normal aging process, but there is an increase in visceral fat (abdominal/surrounding vital organs). One reason for the weight gain is the decrease in Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR accounts for 50 to 70 percent of TEE, is thought to decrease about one to two percent per decade. After age 20, daily energy expenditure decreases about 150 calories per decade. The decline is probably due to decreased muscle mass and increased fat. The number of calories burned per day decreases with age, especially rapid in men 40 years old and women 50 years old. Another metabolic mechanism that explains the weight gain is the decrease in activity of the enzyme LPL/ lipoprotein lipase. This enzyme that breaks down fat(lipolysis) is less active with declining estrogen. In sum, there is less fat breakdown and more fat storage with menopause. Other hormones that can further decrease our metabolism are leptin and adiponectin. Leptin is a hormone regulated by the hypothalamus acts to stimulate hunger. Adiponectin works inversely to suppress hunger. The bottom line is, the more fat you have, the greater stimulation of leptin and suppression of adiponectin.
THE MYTH OF CORTISON AND BELLY FAT
There are many claims that the accumulation of fat around the midsection is related to an increase in cortisol. The science tells us otherwise, cortisol is not responsible for belly fat, but testosterone is the culprit.
Studies suggest that changes in the androgen/testosterone to estrogens ratio after menopause appears to be related to the fat deposition in the abdominal area. This hormonal change can increase insulin resistance, cholesterol, as well as increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
In my opinion, I recommend replacing what your body would normally make. Some research supports replacing estrogen and progesterone for several reasons including, the possibility of decreasing type two diabetes. It is important to do it safely and under the care of a physician. You and your doctor must determine if the benefits outweigh the risks.
I recommend replacing estrogen and progesterone with transdermal patches. The transdermal route is a delivery system for estrogen and progesterone which is safer, since it contains a less toxic form of estrogen, 17-beta estradiol. This route of estrogen delivery bypasses the liver avoiding many of the dangerous effects that can occur with use of oral estrogens. The patch has the additional benefit of not raising the triglycerides and cholesterol levels as much as the oral form, and has a lower risk for thromboembolism or blood clots as compared to the oral estrogens.
Natural Estrogen Booster
Phytoserms and Phytoestrogens are natural hormones derived from food and are known as plant estrogens. The three mains kinds of phytoestrogens are isoflavones, lignans, and coumestans.
Isoflavones are the most potent and the most common phytoestrogens in supplements. Phytoestrogens are also found in many common food sources. Phytoestrogens are not structurally related to estrogen, but they contain a phenolic ring that allows them to bind to estrogen receptors. Phytoestrogens are 100 to 10,000 times weaker than prescription estrogen.
ISOFLAVONES: legumes (soy, chickpeas or garbanzo, red clover, lentil, beans)
LIGNIN: flaxseed, lesser amounts in lentils, whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables
COUMESTINS: red clover, sunflower seeds, sprouts.
Fiber is vital to our health, since it can lower cholesterol, prevent certain cancers, assist in weight loss, promote gut health, and prevent constipation. The recommended daily amount is approximately 25 to 35 gms. It is so beneficial that the more you consume, the better your wellness. Two major types of fiber perform different functions.
Soluble fiber is dissolvable in water. It is broken down and fermented in the colon into beneficial components. These components can function as a prebiotic. This type of fiber tends to slow down the movement of food in the GI tract, bind with cholesterol, and slow down the absorption of glucose. Ultimately soluble fiber can lower cholesterol and improve diabetes.
-Purple passion fruit
-Beans: black beans, navy beans, and kidney beans
-Vegetables: avocado, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and turnips
-Fruits: fruits with skins, pear, apricots, nectarine, and oranges
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. These fiber foods provide bulk and accelerate food in the digestive tract. They can also act as prebiotic agents and prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber can help with the detoxification process by controlling the ph balance, which prevents harmful toxins from absorbing. Lignin is the major insoluble fiber.
-Most beans: kidney, pinto, and navy bean
-Whole grains and bulgar
-Vegetables: okra, turnips and peas