The Question Is…Does Menopause Ever End?

MatureHealthyFemale_lying on bedIn short, NO! The menopause never ends. It’s just the beginning.

It always astounds me when I hear women say, “I’m over the menopause.” That’s because in reality, the menopause never ends. It’s just the beginning.

Yes, the more disruptive symptoms, such as hot flushes/flashes, mood swings, weight gain, depression, sleep disorders, and others, do subside as our body adapts to the new hormonal environment (one of low hormone production). Incredible but true – our body adapts to this situation. But the more serious and deleterious issues just keep on chugging along. What do I mean by that?

Let’s take a look.

The Three Stages of Change

There are three phases of menopause, hmm…maybe four if we count premenopause (before perimenopause and menopause! 🙂 ) When we are still considered to be in our reproductive years.

All three have a name because all three exist.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the ‘symptom stage’ where we get all cranky and become another person really. Or the majority of us do anyway. Not the person we used to be. We don’t feel good. This is the stage in which our body is suffering from a sudden and drastic loss of female hormones. Our body is now in a hormonal revolt and is determined to let us know by way of symptoms.

Basically, our body is in hormonal-starvation-mode, it is suffering withdrawal symptoms. The body needs its hormones back to allow us to function correctly and rid us of all those life-destroying issues. And to allow us to return to the ‘us’ we once were.

This is when we should start thinking about embarking on a programme of bioidentical hormones restorative therapy (BHRT). Imagine the peaceful and symptom-free life you would have!

Perimenopause usually lasts from 5 to 10 years, starting at about age 45. This is an approximation of course. It can start before, last longer or start later and finish sooner. Everyone is different.

Menopause

Menopause is the, ‘you no longer have a period and haven’t had one for over 12 months. 1 year, in other words’, stage. And where your symptoms start to ease. Our body is becoming used to living without hormones. It has adapted, even if it doesn’t want to, it has to.

When we are born, we are born with 1 to 2 million undeveloped eggs in our ovaries and, by the time we reach puberty and start menstruating, approximately only 300,000 immature egg cells (or follicles) remain. Following this, an average of 600 follicles die per month, which are not replaced. By the time we reach menopause, there are no eggs left. As eggs are the main producer of female hormones, this is why we slowly become deficient (in female hormones).

Menopause means the end of our reproductive life as we know it. You can no longer make babies. We have no eggs left and without eggs there will be no oestrogen production and consequently, this leads to no more progesterone production either.

Believe it or not the brain doesn’t like this scenario, it likes to think we are still reproductive. Yes, it may sound crazy but it’s true. The brain gets confused and thinks we are of no use anymore. It believes we are only here to reproduce. Biologically speaking we are here to perpetuate the species (of course, we know better :)). We know we still have a lot to give. Unfortunately, though, the brain isn’t convinced about this. Luckily, we can now do something about it…we have an option. BHRT is that option.

Bioidentical hormones, ‘the miracle molecule’, help reset the brain into thinking all is well again. They kind of trick the brain. Life will continue as before, or maybe even better than before! Even if we are no longer capable of making babies. Hormones nourish the brain and the body and keep it working at optimal.

Post-menopause

So what happens after menopause, when symptoms of perimenopause have subsided and we no longer have a period? Does this mean the menopause has ended, that everything goes back to normal and life just starts all over again? Was the perimenopause just a hiccup? Was menopause just a message telling us we could no longer reproduce? Not exactly.

Yes, it is true that the majority of menopausal women find that symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, sleeping difficulties, mood swings, etc are transitory. And last only as long as it takes the body to adapt to the lower hormone levels. But don’t kid yourself, the menopause is not over. There are other menopausal health issues that are happening within the body. We are talking post-menopause here.

In fact, more important and permanent changes such as drying and thinning skin and vaginal membranes, dry eyes, foggy memory and a decreased urinary tract tone, to name a few, are the next step in this body-change. Basically, this is your body breaking down, sad to say but true. This is your body talking to you. You need to listen to it and take action. We do have a choice now, an alternative…an option!

As time passes, other developments such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cholesterol disorders, cancers, diabetes, and cognitive problems all become more apparent. All of these health issues are known as age-related diseases. They are related to ageing and hormonal loss. Our repair molecules are missing. Hormones play a critical role in repair and regeneration because they are the most comprehensive messaging machine in the human body.

They are the human network of health. They are what keep us in one piece. They are what make us work. With missing or low levels we will feel it. In truth, low hormone levels put an enormous stress on the entire body. Imagine putting petrol in a diesel car…same concept. It won’t work very well. Chug chug! Then it grinds to a halt.

With low hormone levels the body cannot repair or regenerate itself as fast as it once did, and certainly, will not function properly. It will start to ‘chug’ and slow. You see this every day on the streets. Just compare a young woman of 20, in her prime, to a woman of 50, then to a mature woman of 80. Do you notice the ‘chug syndrome’?

This is what happens to the body post-menopause. You don’t feel it like you feel the initial symptoms in perimenopause because it’s moving so slowly, but the body is giving us other indicators now. Your body is struggling. It’s running on low. It’s in breakdown mode.

I am not saying that bioidentical hormones stop us from ageing totally, we all age and we all die. But they definitely slow and ease the ageing process. We age more gracefully. They make us feel and look good. They help us avoid unnecessary pain and discomfort. We can choose how we want to age. In illness or in health. We can hold back age-related and chronic diseases…honest we can. We now have a new template for change. Let’s embrace this change, this new way of ageing. We no longer have to accept the traditional way of ageing, we CAN make ageing good.

We can choose whether to take bioidentical hormones or not. They are truly the key to optimal health and optimal ageing.

Please don’t kid yourself that the menopause ends. Just because your symptoms have subsided does not mean you are no longer in menopause. In fact, as you’ve now understood, you are seriously in menopause…big time. The trick is to keep your body, brain and immune system strong. All of which bioidentical hormones do.

Why am I telling you this?

Why? Because I truly want to help you understand that we DO NOT have to sit quietly and suffer the symptoms of menopause, or in the long-term, the consequences of post-menopause (body breakdown), which brings with it turmoil and the age-related diseases mentioned above, and many many others.

When we restore our hormones we can avoid the symptoms of perimenopause, curb chronic disease, and slow the ageing process. Isn’t that just great. This is for real. I know it myself. I see and feel it every day. I could not live without my hormones. I am vibrant, energetic, focused, positive, happy, sensual, sexy, and enjoy the things in life I always did.

I am sixty-one this year but my biological age is 45 years. How’s that for trumps? I have been on bioidentical hormones for more than 12 years now. I love my life! Embracing BHRT was the best thing I ever did. I am happy and look forward to even better things to come every single day.

I am straight and upright, not bent and crooked. My body is strong, and my mind is the best it has ever been. I am living the optimal life. You can too.

My last tip of the day

If you are considering taking bioidentical hormones (BHRT) make sure you go to an expert. Hormones are safe and work efficiently when prescribed by an expert doctor. BHRT, if not followed and prescribed correctly, can be just as detrimental as synthetic hormones. It is important to find a doctor qualified in this sub-speciality. Always check him/her out! Ask where and who trained them.
Bioidentical hormones aid us in ageing with style, grace, vibrancy and energy, and in maintaining that easy movement of youth. That clarity of thinking, sexuality, sensuality, and zest. What more could you ask for? When we are healthy, feel and look good, each stage of life is wonderful.

For Your Information
If you would like a more in-depth look at menopause, how your body works and exactly what BHRT is check out my book, “The Menopause Cure – Hormonal Health”. I know you’ll enjoy it. It’s an easy read and life changing. Live your life to the fullest.
If you are looking for a qualified BHRT doctor click this link, or drop our team a message or email us – we’re here to guide you.

Your health is our priority.

To Your Health 🙂

Jill xx

Autoimmune Disease Explained

orangeimmunecells bursting outThe relationship between autoimmune disease and immune resilience.

These are very delicate times we are facing, especially with our health. And more specifically, because the coronavirus virus (COVID -19) has hit hard. To make things a little more clearer, we really need to understand the relationship between autoimmune disease and immune resilience. This, at least, may help people with autoimmune diseases feel a little more secure about the whole COVID-19 situation.

So, autoimmunity… and why does the body attack itself?

In my previous blogs I talked about immune tolerance and immune resilience. However, it’s important to understand that having an autoimmune disease doesn’t mean to say it will weaken immune resilience. But we’ll get to that later. First, let’s look at what autoimmunity really is.

Autoimmunity, to describe it in medical terms, is a disorder where the immune system erroneously destroys and attacks body tissue. Put simply, it is the immune system going slightly crazy (it’s gone into ‘tilt mode’) and mistakenly eats, destroys, and attacks body tissue. As an example, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, where the body mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland; or rheumatoid arthritis, where the body mistakenly attacks the joints. Other examples of autoimmunity are type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, alopecia, vitiligo, etc.

Under normal circumstances the immune system is able to tell the difference between foreign (nonself)cells and your own (self) cells. And protect against germs like bacteria and viruses, sending or releasing, an army of fighter cells, natural killer cells, etc, to attack the foreign invader.

When we look at autoimmune disease, however, the immune system erroneously thinks parts of the body, such as the thyroid, joints, skin, etc, are foreign. Your immune system is in ‘tilt mode’, and sends out, or releases autoantibodies that then attack healthy cells.


How does autoimmunity affect your chances of contracting an illness – viral, bacterial or otherwise?

Well, that depends. When we talk about autoimmune disease and immune resilience we need to look at how well your immune function is working in relation to your autoimmunity. To put it another way, different people may have the same autoimmune disease but either a higher or lower immune state. And in fact, autoimmunity can either heighten or dampen immune resilience.

As an example, some people with Hashimoto’s may have a high white blood count and some a low white blood count. Some may have different levels of natural killer cells, T-cell regulation, and B-cell activity, etc. Everyone is different, just because you have the same autoimmune disease doesn’t mean your immune status will be the same!

What this means is some people with autoimmunity alone may have a heightened immune status, meaning they have a high immune resilience. One way to tell if your immune resilience is strong is if you haven’t caught a cold or flu over the last 5 years or so. Even when, at the same time, heightened immune activity may exacerbate autoimmune attacks against bodily tissues. This may seem a little complicated but really it isn’t. A good way to look at it is, we should think of autoimmunity and the immune resilience as two functioning processes that can harm us or protect us. Autoimmunity is a disease which harms us, whereas immune resilience, which can be built or broken depending on your lifestyle habits. When immune resilience is strong we will be less likely to catch get ill. And less prone to chronic disease.

Do people with autoimmunity need to be cautious when taking botanicals?

Well, yes and no!

Let me explain. Because autoimmunity instigates such a diversity of immune responses in each and everyone of us that have it, we need to think before we start taking any herbs, medicinal mushrooms, or other botanicals that can influence the immune system. Of course, it is always best to speak with a qualified functional/restorative doctor before commencing any regime.

If we take a look at the immune-stimulating botanicals such as echinacea or maitake mushrooms in some autoimmune people, they can fire up the immune system and make their autoimmune symptoms even worse. Again, botanicals that actually delay or slow immune response, such as antibody production, can also make autoimmune people worse. We need to be very careful here. Talk to your qualified functional/restorative physician or doctor.

The best way to modulate the Immune system and improve resilience with autoimmunity

So, let’s cut to the chase. If you are one of those people who finds it difficult to balance your immune system, or measure chronic disease, your lifestyle picture should be looked at. As mentioned in my previous blog they make a world of difference. These lifestyle strategies include:

Of course, there are many other healthy lifestyle habits you can take on which help balance immune function. But just start off slowly and you’ll see, you’ll get there. The key is to understand how important your life is…and your health. We only get one shot at this, and we only have one body. You can’t buy a new one, it’s not like a car or fancy dress. Take care of yourself and learn to love yourself. Remember you are the best thing that ever happened to you 🙂

You can find previous blogs here:

Healthy Immune System – Healthy You

The Immune Reset

To your health

Jill:) xx

Why Are You Not Taking Bioidentical Hormones?

Peri_wordswhite abckgrouI often ask myself why every menopausal woman (including perimenopausal and postmenopausal women), isn’t on bioidentical hormones. A therapy known as bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT). To me it is a phenomenon that just doesn’t fit. Something is wrong here. I’m perplexed, considering the immense benefits they can give you, both short-term and long-term.

Is it because they don’t know enough about this therapy? Is it because they’ve been conned into thinking it is dangerous or, that they just don’t work. Of course they work!

Could it be because they have never heard of them before? It is true that we don’t often hear people, including doctors, debating or talking about bioidentical hormones in Europe. And when we do it’s usually negative, strangely enough. Even if it has existed for over 30 years in America.

That’s basically a long-term study right there for you. We need studies to give us scientific proof, facts, and truths. Long-term studies are the best for bringing out the truth and to see if the subject in question is valid or not, whether it be a medicine or a plastic implant for joints. This long-term study on BHRT, that I put before you is definitely a resounding YES! It works. And how it works!

To give you a better understanding of bioidentical hormones, and body physiology, let’s take a quick look.

Hormone Decline

Hormones decline with age, starting at about age 30. The decline is slow until we reach about 40ish, let’s say 45, where the majority of women enter menopause. And where there is a sudden and drastic drop in female hormones. This phase is known as perimenopause, and usually lasts from 5 to 10 years. Perimenopause is where women begin to suffer symptoms, due to the hormonal decline, such as hot flushes/flashes, mood swings, brain fog, aching joints, sleepless nights, weight gain, and many more, that I am sure you are all aware of.

When our hormones decline many women lose themselves…or at least I did. I was no longer the person I had once been. I lost my lust for life, my positivity, my stamina and Jill herself. She was gone. She has of course since returned, and better than ever. Thanks to BHRT.

When there is a hormonal imbalance, havoc erupts within the body and trouble begins. Basically, when hormones decline it creates problems within the endocrine system (where hormones are made) and follows on to other body systems, including immune, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems. You may have noticed you don’t digest foods as easily as you once did. That’s a sign (or even symptom)…listen to it!

If you want to be healthy, both physically and mentally, and continue to be healthy you need to optimise and balance hormone levels so as to support optimal physiology. Hormones are vital for repair and are the most powerful agent in the regulation of optimal physiology. Physiology simply refers to a healthy, well-functioning body and mind.

What Your Local GP Usually Has to Say

When symptoms occur and perimenopause hits, women usually go to their local GP and ask if they are in menopause…of course you are. Your age suggests it and your symptoms are telling you you are.

Your GP will most likely offer you HRT (synthetic), antidepressants, and sleeping tablets. Pat you on the back and tell you, all will be ok, and that it will pass. Hmmm…I’m not so sure about that! In fact, it doesn’t pass, hormonal decline only gets worse.

Your symptoms will pass once your body has adapted to its new hormonal environment…low hormone production. But hormonal decline doesn’t go away unless you do something about it…like restore them. It only gets worse. We are now moving towards total degradation and chronic disease, but that’s for another discussion.

Your symptoms by the way, are actually withdrawal symptoms, due to lack of hormones (hormonal decline). It’s a hormonal revolt. It only makes sense the body is going to suffer if it is missing the major messaging molecule. Yes, hormones are our messaging machine. They make us or they break us, simple as that.

Bioidentical Hormones And What They Can Do For You

What are bioidentical hormones? Why are they so good…GREAT really?

Bioidentical hormones are biologically identical to the hormones that are produced in our body. They are identical in molecular structure – hormone replicas. They come from soya, wild yam and other plant extracts. This is one of the reasons they are so well accepted by the body (because they are exact in structure), and therefore, can be used just as our own hormones, for regeneration and repair.

Importantly, they make us feel great…fantastic in fact. They give us our life back. They are miracle-molecules. They nurture the brain and feed the body. One way of looking at it is, they are the body’s endogenous (made in the body) food. When perimenopause is upon us we are in hormonal- starvation mode. Do we really need this when we can restore them so easily?

Hormones are the essence of life itself. They regulate every bodily function: sleep, growth, blood pressure, heartbeat, breathing,– without them we would simply die. They control muscle tone, build bone, make us fat or thin, maintain correct levels of sugar in the blood and tissue, control women’s menstrual cycles, make men males, rule the passage of time and the voyage into menopause.

They make us happy or sad, they make us cry or laugh, they are us. They give us beautiful skin, nails and hair or vice versa. When hormones decline our skin begins to wrinkle and sag before its time. Hair loses its shine and thickness, and nails start to crack and become brittle, or even become soft. That is just a few examples for you.


Hormones and Immune System Support

Another major benefit of optimal hormone levels is they support our immune system and its function. When hormones decline so does our immune system.

We are the ones that make the choices which strengthen or weaken our immune system. Our immune system is the protector of our health and vitality, which enables us to feel good both physically and emotionally. If our immune system is weak we are less able to handle stress and more susceptible to illnesses. When our immune system is suppressed over a long period, we are definitely more likely to suffer from far more serious diseases such as breast cancer, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and more. I am protecting my protector. You? A major component of having a strong immune system is restoring hormone levels.

In short, without optimal levels of hormones our body slows down and becomes inefficient. We then deteriorate at a great rate and age at a faster speed.

Why do that to yourself?

Take this opportunity to live your best life.

If you would like to know more please read my book, “The Menopause Cure – Hormonal Health

To your health

Jill

The Immune Reset

Hand Blocking Green Immune Cells Bursting out from Black background

5 Ways to support immune resilience and improve immune tolerance.

Click here if you missed my previous blog about immune tolerance and immune resilience. And where we spoke about how important it is to strengthen immune tolerance (when it is low) in order to support immune resilience, which in turn promotes a healthy, well-functioning immune system.

Below are the five lifestyle strategies I mentioned in my previous blog, that we need to follow to strengthen immune system health. And to make your life and heart full again. To make you healthy and strong. Here’s to a happy, healthy life. Of course, there are other strategies you can do as well, but these are your starters.

  • Good sleep
  • Proper diet and nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Physical activity at appropriate levels
  • Emotions

Good Sleep

One of the most neglected and misunderstood strategies to improve immune function, immune resilience and to avoid infections is good sleep. Certain immune system cells (natural killer cells and T-cells) that are used to fight infection are boosted and activated when we sleep. When we sleep the body repairs itself and we are at peace. When we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day, it’s a sign that we have had adequate sleep. When we are grumpy and bumpy, groggy and cranky, that’s a sure sign we didn’t get enough sleep. The day ahead will be long. Adequate sleep is fundamental to a well-working immune system and immune resilience.

Go to bed early. Try to sleep at least 7 hours a night. It is well known that people who sleep less than 7 hours are more prone to heart attack. And 90 minutes before bedtime, turn off all devices and televisions. Let your mind breath…and relax. I know it’s easy to say go to bed early when all you want to do is watch some television or stay on your computer because you feel as if your day has been all work and no play. It seems unfair. But start off by doing it a few nights a week, try reading a book in bed for ten minutes to relax and wind down. You’ll soon see that you’ll get into the habit of it, and start feeling much better.

Remember that there is not a single tissue within the human body and not one process within the brain that is not enhanced with adequate sleep (minimum 7hrs per night), or in the other case, impaired without enough sleep (less than 6hrs per night).

Proper Diet and Nutrition

What is nutrition, is it simply food that fills us up without giving us any health benefits, or is it food that is overflowing with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, etc, that helps us grow, develop, renew, and stay healthy? You guessed it, it’s the latter.

If you look the word nutrition up in the oxford dictionary, it is the “process by which living things (including humans ) 🙂 receive the food necessary for them to grow and be healthy.” Without good nutrition we cannot possibly be healthy and we cannot possibly have a robust immune system.

This, I believe, is what most people in today’s world don’t understand. The foods we eat build us up or tear us down. They build our immune system and push hormone production – hormones, in turn, support a healthy and robust immune system and really improve our immune surveillance…killer cells at work!

So what should we do? Firstly, we need to cut out processed sugars, and concentrated sugars from your diet. That would include concentrated fruit juices, sweets, boiled sugar sweets, candy, etc. Anything that has a high amount of concentrated sugar in it needs to disappear from your diet. Plus they are empty calories that don’t provide you with any nutrition, at all!

We need to eat lots of colourful and varied fruit and vegetables which are high in flavonoid antioxidants, which really help our overall immune system strength. Another major helper is to diversify our microbiome. In other words, we want to have as many different healthy bacterial species in our gut. A healthy gut is essential for a healthy immune system. In fact, believe it or not, approximately 80% of our immune system is found in the gut. Eat multiple kinds of vegetables, but try to change the vegetable you eat. Don’t eat the same fruit and vegetable all the time…change them, this way you will really improve your immune resistance, by improving your gut microbiome.

Last but not least cut out inflammatory foods. Avoid such things as fried foods, processed foods, high floury carbohydrates (eg pasta, breads, pizzas), which cause insulin surges, make you tired (it’s the insulin surge that makes you tired), and they also deplete antioxidant reserves.

Also, avoid partially hydrogenated fats which deplete our antioxidant reserves – they usually come in packets or boxes. Read the labels on the foods you buy.

HYDRATION

Hydration…what is hydration? Again, in the Oxford dictionary hydration means, “The process of making something/somebody take in and hold water.” Water is the key word!. Drink lots of water throughout the day…drinking tea, coffee and alcohol can actually worsen the ‘hydration situation’ as these beverages act as diuretics, so we basically become dehydrated just from that. Please drink water and avoid sugary drinks. Another key to building immune resilience is to stay hydrated all the time. Don’t let yourself get thirsty.

When we are dehydrated the immune system goes into default, and we become more prone to infections. The immune system dysregulates and, interaction and communication (yes our immune system communicates…it talks to our body 🙂 ), and immune signalling becomes compromised. In other words, when we are dehydrated the immune system becomes less efficient. Another thing, dehydration impacts blood volume and can cause miscommunication (yes our body is talking again) between the lymphatic system and the immune system.

If you have an infection or feel you are about to get one, you definitely need to stay hydrated and drink (water!) all the time, as this helps clear the infection quicker.

Of course, you need to cut down on salt intake if you want to stay hydrated. High salt intake makes you urinate more often to try and get rid of the sodium and regulate osmotic pressure.

Physical activity at appropriate levels

Although this might sound strange the immune system communicates throughout the whole body – it has to, to enable us to have optimal immune function, and optimal immune resilience. So, throughout our body and throughout the trillions of cells we have in the body, we have different types of immune cells, from macrophage to antigen-presenting cells. What these cells do is test and sample whatever is coming into the immune system…so when a pathogen, viral, bacterial or other microorganism that causes disease, comes in, they check it out by sending an immune messenger. When a pathogen is detected they (immune cells) let the immune system know that it now needs to manufacture antibodies to protect it from this pathogen. T cells now need to switch on and our natural killer cells need to attack and deal with this infection. To achieve the best immune response this message has to reach the whole body as quickly as possible.

To quicken this process movement of any kind is important…but how much movement, when and how?

Movement promotes better blood flow, circulation, and lymphatic exchange of fluids. When you increase your heart rate, the blood flow and circulation enhances and when you pump those weights, and release and contract, it helps the lymphatic system to work more efficiently, and move fluids throughout the body at a greater speed. If you want to improve, support and/or build overall immune function, it is critical that you do some kind of movement/motion. However, the question is how much?

If you are healthy and have no immune challenges, strenuous exercise is fine, and can actually help release opioids, which have an incredible impact on immune cells like T cells, natural killer cells, and B cells, which of course, will strengthen immune system function and make it much more able to respond to any type of pathogen appropriately.

Instead, if you have an infection and are fatigued it’s best to slow down. Take it easy. High, intense exercise burns up antioxidants and reserves, which will really dampen our immune system. If you are not feeling too good or getting sick a brisk walk is just as good, it’s important not to fatigue yourself. Even a slow walk will activate your lymphatics and immune system function.

So, the key thing here is…

Any kind of movement, whether it’s high intensity or a gentle walk in the park, are critical to vascular dynamics (blood flow and exchange), to help push immune messengers throughout our body. If you want to improve your immune resilience and support tolerance, exercise, movement and motion are critical factors.

Emotions (Laughing and crying)

Really? Yes, really. These emotions can greatly impact immune resilience which help us to fight off infections and be less susceptible to infections that are going around.

Laughing actually triggers a release of opioids, that is of course, why we feel so relaxed and happy after a good laugh. As mentioned previously, opioids greatly impact immune system function by activating key cells such as T cells, natural killer cells and regulatory T cells that help the immune system to be more efficient in dealing with any type of pathogen. So, remember to laugh a lot and watch comedy films rather than tragedy. Laughing can have a profound impact on the immune system. ‘Be Happy – Laugh More – Stay Healthy’.

So what about crying? Hmm! Crying, believe it or not, this also helps us release opioids. For instance, in a critical situation or a crisis many of us cry. If you think about it we feel better after we’ve cried…it seems to relieve us somehow. When we start to cry opioids are released to act as a safeguard, and help dampen stress. In short, they help protect us from dealing with the stressor, which impacts the immune system.

So even crying significantly impacts the immune system by way of opioid release. Think about this next time you want to cry…just cry…and Be Happy!

I know we are all resistant to change, and yes, old habits die hard. But it’s your health we are talking about…it’s your life and the quality of it, no one else’s. Try these changes and see how it can change your life and your health. And if it helps to motivate you…these changes may even help you lose weight.

However, remember rebuilding a strong immune system doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time. You need to be consistent…you need to stick with it. Make yourself a New Years resolution, even if it’s not New Year…who needs New Year to make a new resolution? Start now and your summer will be off to a super start. Remember, the longer you leave your immune system to breakdown the longer it will take to repair.

To Your Health

Jill 🙂

Got the Menopause Blues?

Magnesium Could be the Solution

Studies show that magnesium benefits symptoms of anxiety, irritability, insomnia and water retention ― all common symptoms of menopause. In addition, magnesium increases levels of the mood-elevating neurotransmitter serotonin, which is important to improving sleep and memory, as well as depression.

When the perimenopause or menopause arrives, you may find yourself hit with an avalanche of life-disrupting symptoms. Could a precipitous drop in your magnesium level be the cause?

Over the past half century, magnesium intake has plummeted, thanks to mineral depletion in soil and water, resulting in mineral-poor diets. Consequently, around 75% of people in developed countries are now magnesium-deficient.

Most of us are unaware that our bodies rely on magnesium to perform more than 600 metabolic functions. However, we may become very aware of the effects of magnesium depletion.

Lack of magnesium can make itself felt in a number of ways ― stress, anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability and insomnia, to name a few.

Depending on your magnesium levels over time, you may have previously escaped these problems or experienced them only irregularly. But with the advent of perimenopause and menopause, some or all of these symptoms commonly appear or worsen for many women. Some may be severe.

One can’t say that all menopausal symptoms are due solely to magnesium deficiency, but it can certainly be a major contributor.

And it may hold a key to relieving these distressing symptoms.

Why Magnesium Levels Fall with Menopause

Beginning with perimenopause, your oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone hormones fluctuate widely.

During your child-bearing years, when you need more minerals, oestrogen promotes magnesium absorption to accommodate pregnancy. However, as oestrogen levels begin to fall with perimenopause, your ability to absorb magnesium diminishes.

The result is hypomagnesemia (magnesium deficiency), which, if not addressed, will continue to worsen with age.

How Magnesium Helps Manage Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety rank high among complaints of menopausal women. The reason? As oestrogen levels drop, you also lose the ability to effectively regulate cortisol levels.

Cortisol is commonly known as “The Stress Hormone,” and in some instances it serves a useful purpose. For example, it can help you respond instinctively to emergencies, summon courage when threatened and weather daunting challenges.

However, too much cortisol for too long leads to chronic stress, which isn’t good.

In addition to producing stress, high cortisol impairs normal cell regeneration, production of vital hormones, cognitive function and healthy digestion.

Stress begins with your pituitary gland, which releases ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), and in turn, ACTH stimulates your adrenal glands to produce cortisol.

However, if you have enough magnesium, it can:
· moderate the amount of ACTH released from your pituitary
· lessen your adrenal glands’ response to ACTH, preventing a massive release of cortisol
· block the blood/brain barrier, preventing cortisol from entering your brain

Dr. Carolyn Dean, who authored the bestselling The Magnesium Miracle, explains how, under stress, “your body creates stress hormones causing a cascade of physical effects, all of which consume magnesium.”

It becomes a vicious cycle: Stress robs you of the magnesium you need to prevent stress, which makes stress still worse. If your magnesium level is low to begin with, it can be difficult to break the cycle.

To make matters worse, during periods of prolonged stress, you further reduce your magnesium store by passing it out with urine!

And Relieve Depression

Under the relentless assault of excessive cortisol and chronic stress, people may abandon healthy mood-regulation strategies. Consequently, the longer you’re stressed, the more likely it becomes that you will find yourself on a downward slide into depression.

There is, however, hope. There’s good reason magnesium is called “the chill pill”, “nature’s relaxant” and the “anti-stress/anxiety mineral”. In one study, researchers found magnesium equally as effective as antidepressants in relieving depression, often within a week.

An interesting article by researchers George and Karen Eby theorizes that stress, together with magnesium deficiency, can cause damage to brain neurons that results in depression. On the bright side, they observe that “Magnesium was found usually effective for treatment of depression in general use.”

Studies also show that magnesium therapy benefits anxiety, irritability, insomnia and water retention ― all common symptoms of menopause.

In addition, magnesium increases levels of the mood-elevating neurotransmitter serotonin, which is important to improving sleep and memory, as well as depression.

Is Magnesium Right for You?

The magnesium in today’s refined flour is only 16% of what used to be contained in whole wheat flour.
The soil in which we grow food is depleted of minerals, and flouride has banished magnesium from our drinking water in many localities.

A hundred years ago, when magnesium was plentiful, depression occurred in only about 1% of the population. In the US, it’s now around 6.9% for adults. And as of 2014, 19.7% of people in the UK aged 16 and over showed symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Many women find upping their magnesium intake is a simple, natural way to ease menopausal symptoms, relax and get a good night’s sleep.

And because magnesium deficiency is so common and so important to many bodily functions, it may be wise to consider increasing your magnesium prior to menopause. (It can even prevent a sudden heart attack!)

There are tests to measure magnesium levels, but the serum (blood) test often fails to detect deficiencies. Some physicians recommend the red blood cell (RBC) essential mineral test as being more accurate.

You can bolster magnesium levels by including high-magnesium foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit and dark chocolate in your diet.

However, since magnesium in food is limited, you may also want to consider topping up by suing a high-quality magnesium supplement.

References

Alban, D. 8 Ways Magnesium Relieves Anxiety and Stress. Be Brain Fit.

Curb, J.D. Endocrine Function and Magnesium Menopause and Premenstrual Syndrome. National Health Federation.

Deans, E. Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill, June 12, 2011.

Eby, G.&K. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. George Eby Research, Medical Hypotheses, Jan. 2006.

Magnolia. Food and Medicine: Magnesium for Anxiety & Panic Attacks in Perimenopause. The Perimenopause Blog, Jan. 27, 2017.

Pick, M. The Destructive Effects of High Cortisol Levels. Women to Women.

How to avoid becoming an invisible woman

The menopause is a time of change that can strip away your femininity and youthfulness, leaving you feeling like an invisible woman.

However, the hormonal turbulence that comes with the menopause can be treated entirely naturally as can all those nasty symptoms that come with it.

Restorative medicine can help you find hormonal harmony: it is now possible to safely and efficiently  re-balance your hormone levels with bioidentical hormones that avoid the risks of conventional HRT, helping you shine on into a new and liberating stage of life.    

What is it about the menopause that can make you feel invisible?

Ageism

Ageism affects everyone, but we women really feel the sharp end of it. Last year, Business Champion for Older Workers Dr. Ros Altmann found that “talent progression stops for women around age 45”. You only need to switch on the TV and work out the ratio of older male/female presenters and news reporters. Unfortunately, while older women have done more than enough to show they’re just as valuable to society (one might be in the White House by the end of the year), negative perceptions have been slow to change.   

Body image

Much of this ageism is tied up in body image – something that an untreated menopause can affect greatly. But, our changing body image also challenges our own perceptions of who we are. Hormones are the life-giving force for all  of our body’s systems, that even a slight imbalance can cause changes in the body that polish off our shine and leave us feeling a shadow of our former selves.

Weight gain

Especially common during perimenopause, weight gain is caused by a combination of a switch in our minor/major hormone production, and stress. Hormonal stress can affect the DHEA-to cortisol ratio, leaving us with cortisol dominance, and the body’s natural response is to store fat. And, if your thyroid functionality drops off, no amount of diet or exercise will help you re-sculpt your midriff, as your body will start turning calories into fat instead of energy.  

Skin

Our skin tells our story, whether we like it or not. You can blame thinning skin on declining oestrogen levels, and a  saggy skin on low testosterone levels. An imbalance in testosterone, in some cases, can even cause an inflammatory skin condition called rosacea. And, if your testosterone levels are too high, you might end up with your first bout of acne since your sixth-form prom.    

It doesn’t have to be this way. Fight back with restorative medicine!

Keep those feminine curves

For the first time in your life, diet and exercise just aren’t enough to keep hold of that fabulous figure. And, it all starts with your ovarian hormones. Here’s how your levels of ovarian hormones dictate the part of the body that will gain weight:

Hormone ratio: How it affects your body:
High ratio of oestradiol (E2) (a type of oestrogen) to progesterone Weight gain around the hips
Low oestradiol (E2) with normal progesterone, testosterone and DHEA Weight gain around the middle

Both progesterone and oestrogen decline in menopause and are vital to our overall health. Progesterone is the first to decline, and to a greater degree. When this happens it can provoke an oestrogen dominance setup, which is not a good place to be, as it can present various health issues, including breast and uterine cancer. When the ratio of both these important hormones are off course, an expert in restorative medicine can create an individualised programme to restore optimal function in the body and correct the ratio of both these hormones.

Once your hormones have been restored and re-balanced, the levels of stress on the body will decrease. It will also help to optimise the DHEA-to-cortisol ratio, assisting your body to store less fat, along with decreasing your body’s propensity to break down muscle and, to become insulin resistant. Once you find your natural balance, it all falls into place.  

Give your skin a radiant glow

There’s a little trick that I want you all to know. Oestriol cream (a type of oestrogen), topically compounded with antioxidants, will breathe new life into your skin. A natural concoction of ingredients, this wonder-cream can make your skin thicker, firmer and more plump, wrinkles shallower and pores smaller.

Your skin should regain its natural elasticity within 2 – 3 months, and develop a healthy, pinkish glow. Avoid petroleum-based products for a more youthful look. Also, you’ll need a prescription for this product, so get that doctor’s appointment booked in stat!    

While the years may keep ticking over, there’s no need to accept becoming an invisible woman as an inevitability. With restorative medicine, you can carry on enjoying your youthful looks, energy and feminine charms for years to come!

Find out how restorative medicine could help you find your natural hormonal balance.   

Stress-busting tactics to reverse menopausal mood swings

There’s so much about the menopause that can totally disrupt your life. The decline in female hormones, at that time, can put a continual and incredible stress load on the body, which can go on to effect the Cortisol-to-DHEA ratio. When DHEA levels are low in comparison to cortisol we get a ‘cortisol dominance’ setup that can bring with it a host of health issues including weight gain, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

With the added stress of today’s hectic lifestyles– as stress blunts hormone production – it’s  the perfect combination for a fatal storm. The decline in sex hormones, along with an imbalance in the Cortisol-to-DHEA ratio, can make menopausal symptoms more pronounced, including:

  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Night sweats

What are the short and long-term stress-busting methods to help you through the menopause?

1.   Improve your diet

You really are what you eat; look after your insides by ingesting friendly bacteria from probiotics and fermented food (mainly vegetables), and you’ll experience improved brain functionality, feelings of wellbeing and mood control. This means setting aside time to cook and eat at your own pace.

2.   Don’t rely on unhealthy habits

You might get a momentary buzz from alcohol, smoking or caffeine, but they will make you feel worse in the long-run. Alcohol is a natural depressive, while smoking and caffeine throw off your body’s natural sleeping and eating patterns. All are associated with negative physical health effects.

3.   Exercise

Your body releases endorphins as you exercise, reducing pain perception and enabling a feeling of euphoria. It blocks the physical effects of stress too, those that exercised less frequently were found to experience 37% more physical symptoms during stressful times.

4.   Take a walk

Countryside residents have been found to  have a better cortisol-to-DHEA ratio than city dwellers and therefore suffer less stress. Getting back to nature – even for a 10-minute walk – can help you re-assess and gain a greater sense of perspective.  

5.   Take up a hobby

Whether it’s an existing passion or a long-held wish to learn samba, a hobby gives you time to be yourself and can take your mind off the cause of the stress. It’s a great way to socialise, and is the perfect way to set and achieve more personal goals.

6.   Socialise

Loneliness is major stressor, and prevents you from talking through your problems. Chat with people you see on your daily rounds, and attend community events to broaden your support network. Best of all – volunteer and de-stress by helping others.

7.   Make ‘me time’

Life’s all about balance, and sometimes you just need some me time. Meditation is now universally accepted as an effective stress-buster. It doesn’t require anything special, just sit quietly for 10-minutes and try to shut out the madness. Or, spoil yourself a little with a hot bath, yoga session – even a massage!

8.   Breathe right

It’s a natural process that goes on 24/7, so it’s easy to forget that breathing control can regulate physiological and bioenergetics mechanisms, oxygenating your body and settling your nervous system. There’s a technique called ‘Buteyko’ that can help you restore a normal pattern.

9.   Change your psychology

Some self-reflection is needed before you truly take control of your psychology. Optimists are better at dealing with stress. Unleash your inner optimist by making a list of all the things you’re thankful for – there’ll be more than you think! Here’s some other ways you can improve your psychology:

  • Adjust expectations
  • Say ‘no’
  • Express true feelings
  • Avoid stressful people/situations
  • Be willing to compromise
  • Manage your time
  • Accentuate the positive

It doesn’t have to be this way; fight back with restorative medicine and find the long-term solution

All of these methods will help you realign your emotions and let normal service resume… temporarily. The only way to truly take your stress levels by the reins and achieve long-term oneness is to naturally re-balance your hormone levels.

Bioidentical hormone restorative therapy lets you use natural compounds to overcome the symptoms of the menopause, without the health risks associated with synthetic HRT. Bioidentical hormones are organic compounds that are an exact copy of the human hormone, enabling them to function in the same way. 

Once your hormonal levels have returned to their natural levels, you can say ‘goodbye’ to the symptoms of the menopause and ‘hello’ to a more youthful, healthier you.

With my book, find out how you can take your first steps towards re-discovering natural balance.

Menopause and the mind

menopause-forgetfulness

Hormonal imbalances cause a whole host of unwelcome changes throughout the menopause. While the physical changes can have dramatic and often unexpected consequences, it is the cognitive effects of hormonal imbalance that can often prove the most disconcerting for women of a menopausal age.

This can take the form of anything from forgetfulness to fatigue – but there is an answer that naturally restores balance to your mind and body, without the concerning health risks of HRT, and that’s restorative medicine.    

So what are the potential psychological effects of the menopause if left untreated?

1. Anxiety

Reduced levels of oestrogens circulating in the bloodstream can cause intense anxiety during the menopause. A lack of these hormones causes irregular production of serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters that control your emotions. This might cause you to experience an anxiety attack, or a series of attacks in succession that can then lead to depression if left unchecked.   

2. Mood swings

Mood swings are a fact of life for many, but can be greatly exacerbated by the hormonal imbalance that affects you during perimenopause and menopause. Even if triggered by something innocuous, the feeling is very real and can be debilitating. Again, this is caused by reduced oestrogens levels affecting neurotransmitters, but can also be worsened by other menopausal symptoms.   

3. Fatigue

The debilitating feeling of fatigue is a sure sign of hormonal imbalance. During perimenopause and menopause, your energy levels may drop, making you feel weak and listless – like a light has been switched off. A whole range of hormones are associated with fatigue: progesterone and oestrogens control mood and sexual desire, while the relation of cortisol levels to Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) can cause increased stress.

4. Foggy memory

You’ve probably heard of a ‘menopausal moment’, and while this falls some way short of a compassionate and supportive outlook, foggy memory is the reason this saying gained popularity. The signs can be subtle: you might start misplacing items, forgetting people’s birthdays or losing your train of thought. Whatever the signs, memory lapses are caused by a decline in oestrogens and the de-stabilisation of stress hormones.

5. Insomnia

Insomnia during the perimenopause and menopause is a vicious circle. Affecting women up to seven years before the menopause truly commences, insomnia is caused by hormonal imbalances – but sleep is the only process by which the hormones you need can be regenerated. Insomnia can have dramatic effects on daytime functionality, as well as raising the risk, in the long-term, of secondary health conditions such as heart disease.

Restorative medicine

How can it help?

Bioidentical Hormone Restorative Therapy not only helps you to regain your optimal hormonal composition, it also enables you to avoid the health risks associated with synthetic treatments.

Achieving this chemical balance helps to address all of the hormonal symptoms of the menopause, not just physical conditions like weight gain, hot flushes and a reduced immune system, but also cognitive faculties.  

What are the benefits over conventional treatment?

Bioidentical hormones are an exact match for compounds found within the body and so can be fully metabolised, but synthetic hormones are an alien chemical make-up that cannot be read, fully understood, used and excreted by the body. A whole series of studies have found that synthetic HRT compounds create an unacceptable risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease, as well as failing to work as effectively as restorative medicine.

While the maximum length of treatment for conventional HRT is just five years as a result of these risks, bioidentical hormones can be used for life with no secondary side effects. Synthetic hormones are designed by drug companies as a one-size-fits-all solution, but in contrast, restorative medicine is tailored by specialists to each individual’s hormonal composition, helping to restore the real you.

Find out how you can use restorative medicine to re-discover your balance and avoid any loss of control over your head space.

Andropause – The Male Menopause

Men can suffer the menopause too!

Andropause is the male version of menopause – Men suffer from hormonal loss just as women do, but at a later stage in life.

On the whole, mother nature, or father nature in this case, has been good to men: they do not have menstrual cycles, have babies, or seem to be suddenly struck by total hormone disruption when they hit forty or fifty. However, they do have their own version of menopause, which translates into andropause, and which it is tightly controlled by testosterone levels.  

Testosterone

Men’s testosterone levels are at their peak at around 21. (Do you remember those days?) Thereafter, levels incrementally diminish at about a rate of one to two percent per year, so by the time a man reaches sixty testosterone decline becomes a key concern. An important point to remember is that men lose their testosterone over a 30 year period whereas women lose their sex hormones over a five year period, which can cause sudden, and in some cases, assertive symptoms. A man has more insidious symptoms and may realise that something is ‘not quite’ right, but he can’t figure out what. He is most likely totally unaware of the steady but slow decline in optimal hormonal function.   

Below the belt

Testosterone has always been linked to a ‘below the belt’ discussion for most men, but issues such as low libido and erectile dysfunction usually become apparent later on (after sixty). In actual fact, an array of hormonal changes, similar to a woman’s menopausal symptoms, happen before we see erectile problems evolve.

Symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, concentration problems, fatigue, mood swings, depression, irritability, constipation, hair loss and baldness, and even weight gain. With decreasing proportions of testosterone we see more insulin resistance, and the ‘pot belly’ effect.

Risks to the heart

Men may suffer from aches and pains, increased and rapid heart rate, and other heart problems. Testosterone is a potent vasodilator*, as it is stimulates nitric oxide. With increased loss of testosterone, we will see high blood pressure and a gradual reduction in blood flow throughout the body, to such important organs as heart, brain and penis. In fact, declining and low testosterone levels are the greatest independent risk factor for coronary artery disease regardless of his family history, total cholesterol, and lifestyle habits, including smoking.    

Low libido and difficulty with erections can make life difficult, affecting not only their life but that of their family too. And of course, most men will certainly have urinary problems such as hesitancy – benign prostatic hypertrophy, an enlarged prostate gland, creating the inability to evacuate urine completely.

Both men and women have testosterone and oestrogens, only at different levels. Women have less testosterone to that of oestrogens, whereas men have more testosterone to that of oestrogens. When testosterone levels decline in men it creates an imbalance between this ratio – there will be more oestrogens to testosterone. This increasing proportion of oestrogens to testosterone increases blood clotting factors, and narrowing of the coronary arteries, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke. On the other hand, too little oestrogen(s) predispose men to bone fractures and osteoporosis. Balance is what is needed!       

Restore your body to optimal levels and avoid all the risks and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance.

*Vasodilators are agents that open (dilate) blood vessels. They work directly on the muscles in the walls of your arteries, preventing the muscles from tightening and the walls from narrowing.