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Three Key Supplements To Fight Hot Flushes With

Vitamin E, Folic Acid and Krill Oil: Good for Hot Flushes – and a Lot More

Vitamin E, folic acid and krill oil are three supplements that have all been shown to help ease the miseries of hot flushes ― but when you take them for menopausal symptoms, surprise! You get lots of wonderful health benefits as a bonus.

Here are a few. . .

Vitamin E: A Power Antioxidant

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s a key player in organ, enzyme and brain function. It helps with vaginal dryness as well as hot flushes. But it also:

Fights free radicals:

Take, for example, cholesterol. You’ve probably been told, and wrongly so, that cholesterol is bad for you. Unfortunately we are not being given the full picture here.

Read my book The Cholesterol Puzzle and get the truth and a full understanding of cholesterol and its benefits.

Cholesterol has many, many important functions in the body and is a necessary building block of just about every system in the body. In other words, it is a major part of what keeps the human infrastructure up and running correctly. It is essential to keeping your hormones, cells and nerves healthy and functioning properly.

It’s only when free radicals (rogue molecules) oxidize cholesterol that it can become harmful. Once oxidized it can more easily slip through the endothelium (innermost layer of the arteries). Oxidation is the damage ― something like rust ― caused by free radicals. We call that oxidative stress.

As a powerhouse antioxidant, vitamin E combats oxidative stress, not only to cholesterol but to cells throughout your body. Less free radical damage means less risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

  • it improves your resistance to disease:

Vitamin E’s ability to prevent cellular damage and inflammation helps prevent cancer (lung, esophageal, colorectal, etc.) as well as heart disease, and it naturally helps slow the ageing process.

Researchers have also found vitamin E’s ability to reduce oxidative stress promotes better blood glucose control. The result is improved blood sugar balance, which, if not controlled, can lead to type 2 diabetes, a key player in cardiovascular disease.

What is more, vitamin E keeps your immune system strong and disease-resistant by combating viruses and harmful bacteria.

Further, clinical research shows that while vitamin E may not prevent Alzheimer’s disease, it slows functional decline better than a commonly prescribed Alzheimer’s drug. This effect may be due to its role in synthesizing acetylcholine, a primary neurotransmitter for memory and cognition that has been shown to be at low levels in Alzheimer’s patients.

Folic Acid: The Multi-Purpose Vitamin

A 2010 article in Gynecological Endocrinology reported that folic acid (vitamin B9) reduces the number and intensity of women’s menopausal hot flushes. It also lowers risk of postmenopausal breast cancer. Great news for women, but folic acid does much more.

Activated folic acid assists with DNA synthesis, prevention of birth defects, immune and nervous system function, and mucous membrane tissue health (digestive tract, cervix and vagina). In addition,

  • it reduces homocysteine:

Homocysteine, an amino acid, is an inflammatory marker linked with hardening and thickening of blood vessels. If your levels are high, it doubles or triples your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Folic acid improves heart health by lowering homocysteine levels, thereby lessening atherosclerosis and reducing arterial wall thickening. Research shows that patients who are most successful in decreasing homocysteine levels have the greatest reduction in cardiovascular risk.

Homocysteine is also associated with Alzheimer’s disease, brain atrophy, hearing loss, osteoporosis, cervical cancer, migraines and even macular degeneration.

Krill Oil: The Super Omega-3

Canadian studies show that krill oil can reduce your number of hot flushes, the effects of stress and menopause-related depression. It also improves inflammation, joint function, energy metabolism and blood glucose levels. As if that weren’t enough,

  • it protects your heart:

In multiple studies, krill oil has proved to be more effective than fish oil at lowering high triglycerides ― a primary risk factor for heart disease.

Krill EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) also quell inflammation in your blood vessels.

In addition, krill oil lowers blood pressure. Its anticoagulant effect helps to prevent atherosclerosis and blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes (although people on blood thinners should use krill oil only under a doctor’s supervision).

  • it nourishes your brain:

Sixty percent of your brain is fat, so the EPA and DHA long-chain fatty acids of omega-3s are critical to brain health, especially the DHA of krill oil. DHA alone makes up about 15–20 percent of your brain’s cerebral cortex.

The DHA in krill oil differs from that in ordinary fish oil in that it binds to phospholipids ― a particular form of fat that allows increased uptake of DHA into the brain. This is important because low DHA may result in memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

In recent years, researchers discovered that supplementation with krill oil in elderly people resulted in significant improvement in memory, verbal fluency and rate of learning.

In short, these three remarkable supplements ― vitamin E, folic acid and krill oil ― provide research-tested relief from menopausal symptoms, but their wide-ranging benefits give you plenty of reasons to take them at any time of life.

SOURCES:

Manning PJ, Sutherland WH, Walker RJ, Williams SM, De Jong SA, Ryalls AR, Berry EA.Effect of high-dose vitamin E on insulin resistance and associated parameters in overweight subjects. Diabetes Care. 2004 Sep;27(9):2166-71.

Barrington, R. Vitamin E and Insulin Resistance. RdBNutrition. Nov. 26, 2015.

Estrogen Metabolism Diet. YourHormones.com.

Hormone Balance ― How to restore it or maintain it. Amazing Wellness Magazine. Nov. 1, 2012.

Hot flashes reduced by folic acid. Life Extension Update. Life Extension Magazine. Dec. 17, 2010.

Jenkins, J. Information on Supplements That Help Neurotransmitter in Brain. LIVESTRONG.com. Nov. 17, 2015.

Mercola, J. A Daily 900 mg Dose of Omega-3 Fats Helped Reverse Memory Loss. Mercola.com. Feb. 6, 2012.

Mercola, J. Vitamin E May Offer Benefits for Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Mercola.com. Jan. 23, 2014.

Phillip, J. Folic Acid for Heart Health. Nutrition Digest. Vol. 38, No. 2.

Torda, C. and Wolff, H.G. Effect of vitamins on Acetylcholine Synthesis. The Apparently Specific Action of Vitamin E. Experimental Biology and Medicine. Vol. 58, Issue 2, 1945.

Vitamin E. MedlinePlus.gov.

Wright, Y.L. and Swartz, J.M. Secrets About Bioidentical Hormones!

Bioidentical Oestrogen – Smooth Your Path Through Menopause

Smooth Your Path Through Menopause

When perimenopause arrives, it can turn your world upside down! It’s the first announcement that menopause is on its way, and even if you’re still having your periods, hormonal changes are going on. They can’t be seen, but they certainly can be felt.

In a worst-case scenario, hot flushes and night sweats arrive to disrupt your days and make sleep elusive. Fatigue becomes a constant companion and your brain feels wrapped in wet cotton wool. You may become more moody, more volatile . . . even slip into depression. And to make matters worse, the pounds seem to pile on, uninvited, and refuse to leave.

Who wouldn’t be depressed?

Up until that point, you probably hadn’t thought a lot about your hormones. Ever since puberty, they’ve gone along, unobserved and for the most part quietly doing their job in perfect harmony. But now their job is changing ― along with your life.

Let’s take a look at some of the culprits.

Meet the Oestrogen Trio

Many women think of oestrogen as a single hormone, but oestrogen is actually a general term that encompasses three distinct primary hormones: oestrone (E1), oestradiol (E2) and oestriol (E3).

During your reproductive years, oestradiol, which is secreted by the ovaries, is the most active of the oestrogens. It’s the predominant sex hormone and responsible for the characteristics that make you “feminine” ― sex organs, breast development and curvy fat deposits around the hips and thighs. It also plays a major role in your menstrual cycle and bone health.

At this stage, oestradiol is 12 times more potent than oestrone and 80 times more potent than oestriol.

Oestradiol keeps your uterine lining healthy and ― just in case ― prepared for pregnancy. If you become pregnant, oestriol, a weak oestrogen, steps in as the primary oestrogen and thickens the uterine lining, which provides blood to the placenta. Large quantities of oestriol are released for the baby’s well-being.

With menopause, oestrone takes over as the dominant oestrogen. Oestrone is a “danger” hormone because it carries the potential for increased risk of breast and endometrial cancer. For that reason, it needs to be monitored to ensure it remains in balance.

Menopause Disrupts the Harmony

Beginning with perimenopause (the onset of menopause), oestradiol begins a dramatic decline that often heralds the arrival of physical and emotional menopausal symptoms.

For many women, these symptoms include erratic moods, stress, inability to cope, frustration, sadness and, in the worst instances, severe depression and feelings of hopelessness. If a woman has hot flushes, night sweats, insomnia, vaginal dryness, low libido and other physical symptoms, these feelings are magnified.

It’s estimated that between 8% and 15% of women going through menopause experience some degree of depression, which is most common during the perimenopausal transition to menopause.

Dr Dzugan is one of the few doctors who recognises the true source of this kind of depression, which is hormone-induced. Unfortunately, many doctors often treat their patients with antidepressants, which are inappropriate and drive the situation from bad to worse.

Antidepressants just don’t work, and typically the dosage is then increased with, again, no improvement. As Dr Dzugan has told me more than once, “In these cases, quite often, a second or third antidepressant is prescribed, along with mood-stabilising and anti-epileptic drugs.”

If you think there has to be a better way, you’re right.

Oestrogens to the Rescue

When you arrive at menopause, oestrone replaces oestradiol as the primary oestrogen. However, oestrone is a weaker oestrogen and can’t combat menopausal symptoms, whether emotional or physical.

There is, however, a solution.

Bioidentical oestradiol, in the proper ratio with oestriol, can restore your hormonal equilibrium. It has been proven to reliably banish hot flushes and other physical symptoms associated with menopause nearly instantaneously.

Bioidentical oestrogen therapy also boosts your serotonin level. Although actually a neurotransmitter, serotonin is known as the “feel-good hormone.” It fights depression, elevates mood and promotes sleep. What is more, it increases your production of GABA, a neurotransmitter with calming effects. It also raises endorphins, which act to control pain, ease stress, relieve frustration and even slow the ageing process.

What Else Do You Need?

Your endocrine system ― that is, your hormones ― act interdependently, and for them to function properly, you need each one in the proper quantity. In other words, they have to be balanced.

That means you will also need progesterone and testosterone.

Progesterone:

Although your oestradiol levels decline rapidly as you transition into menopause, progesterone levels may fall even faster, and by the time you reach full menopause, your progesterone may be as low as it normally is in men.

As a result, your oestrogen level may top that of progesterone, resulting in a condition called oestrogen dominance. That simply means you have too much oestrogen relative to progesterone.

Oestrogen dominance may also result from exposure to hormone-disrupting toxic chemicals that mimic estrogens. Because these chemicals create false oestrogens, they can also throw your oestrogen/progesterone ratio off balance.

Symptoms of oestrogen dominance include severe headaches, depression, anxiety, fuzzy thinking, water retention, weight gain and digestive problems.

Even more concerning, oestrogen dominance increases your risk of breast and uterine cancers, so it’s extremely important to restore your oestrogen and progesterone to the proper balance.

Testosterone:

Many women are unaware that testosterone is as important for women as it is for men. If you have low-T during menopause, you’ll have trouble with concentration and energy. Your muscles will become flabby and your bones brittle. Your sex drive and fantasy will be in “sleep mode,” and you’ll lack confidence and determination.

Women’s testosterone levels can begin to diminish as much as 10 years before full menopause.

Oestrogen and testosterone levels are closely related, and adding testosterone to your bioidentical hormone therapy may be needed to bring these two hormones back into sync.

How Do You Get What You Need?

It’s important to remember that bioidentical hormone restorative therapy is a complex specialism, and doctors need extensive training to do it properly. So the first thing you need to do is find a doctor with the needed knowledge, credentials and experience.

When you find your bioidentical hormone specialist, you’ll need to do testing. Testing is what allows your doctor to understand the exact status of your hormones so he or she can prescribe the hormones you need in the specific amounts you require.

I can tell you from my own experience that restoring your hormones to their proper balance can give you back your happy, healthy self, free of debilitating symptoms. Best of all, you’ll learn that “the change” in your life can be a truly positive change ― one that ushers in an exciting time of health, personal growth and productivity.

SOURCES:

Estrogens: E1. E2, E3. Rx Compound Centre.

Hormones and Depression in Women. BodyLogicMD.com

Studd. J. When is depression in women a matter of hormones? TotalHealth.co.uk. Aug. 17, 2012.

Mandal, A. Estrogen Types. News, Medical Life Sciences.

Menopause. Progesterone Therapy.

Peterson, D. Three Stages of a Woman’s Life Require Three Different Estrogens. Wellness Alternatives.

Pick. M. Estrogen Dominance ― Is It Real? Women to Women.

Testosterone Deficiency May Exacerbate Menopause. Testosterone and Menopause. July 14, 2014.

Discover the Value of Valerian Root

Sound Sleep and a Serene Mind

It’s estimated that above 70% of Americans and 50% of Britons suffer from insomnia, and it’s certainly a common complaint among women going through the stages of menopause. In the UK, the percentage for women goes up to 75%.

The Guardian also reports that, according to the Office for National Statistics, anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five adults.

Are you one of those people? If you’re desperate for a little peace of mind and respite from wakeful nights, valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) ― often called “nature’s valium” ― just might be your answer.

It’s been used for centuries to reduce anxiety, promote serenity and lull people off to a deep, restful sleep.

Sound good?

Valerian’s name, which comes from the Latin word valere, means to be strong or healthy, which we firmly believe includes getting a great night’s sleep . . . every night.

How does Valerian work to combat stress?

Valerian root, which contains valerentic acid, isovaleric acid and a number of antioxidants, works to affect GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels in your brain. GABA inhibits your brain’s nerve transmissions and calms anxiety.

This supplement works much like Valium (diazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam), without, of course, the side effects of those drugs. It suppresses the breakdown of GABA, which increases your brain’s GABA level. Increased GABA causes a sedative effect and increases your feelings of tranquility and well-being,

The antioxidants linarin and hesperidin, also found in valerian root, have calming and sleep-improving properties.

In addition, valerian’s ingredients may also help quiet an overactive amygdala. That’s the part of your brain where feelings of fear and anxiety are processed. Treating mice with valerian showed that it raised their levels of serotonin, which improved their responses to physical and psychological stress.

Does Valerian really improve sleep?

Studies have verified that valerian helps you get to sleep faster and sleep more soundly. Your overall quality of sleep improves, enabling you to get more high-quality, restorative sleep.
Out of 27 young and middle-age adults who took 400 mg of valerian root, 24 said they slept better and 12 judged their sleep to be “perfect.”

An important part of restful sleep is slow-wave sleep, which is necessary to repair and recharge your body so you wake up feeling energetic. In one study, a single dose of valerian allowed subjects to get to deep sleep faster and stay in it longer. (This is the experience of most people, although around one in ten will have the opposite effect, causing people to feel energized rather than sleepy. This suggests that you should start with the minimum dose.)

A 2011 study focused on postmenopausal women. After taking 530 mg of valerian twice daily for four weeks, sleep quality improved for 30 percent of study participants.

Are there any side effects?

It’s important to note that clinical studies have found no serious adverse side effects from use of valerian. It has not been found to negatively affect mental or physical performance.

In comparison, sleeping pills have been shown to affect following-day alertness, reaction time and concentration.

At the same time, you should take certain precautions when taking valerian. For example, you shouldn’t take it with any kind of drug or herbal supplement with sedative effects, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, narcotics, antihistamines or alcohol.

Also, don’t drive or use machinery for several hours after taking valerian, take it if you’re pregnant or have liver disease, or give it to children younger than three.

What else can Valerian do?

There isn’t a great deal of scientific research on Valerian root beyond its ability to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. It has, however, been shown to:

  • lower blood pressure, which aids in reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke
  • relieve menstrual cramps by suppressing muscle spasms and acting as a natural muscle relaxer
  • significantly reduce severity and modestly reduce frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women
  • improve symptoms of restless legs syndrome
  • increase antioxidant levels and decrease inflammation in Parkinson’s patients

Supplementing with Valerian root provides you with a simple, safe means of simultaneously decreasing stress and anxiety levels, and getting the sound, restorative sleep you need ― along with several potential bonus benefits.

SOURCES:

Anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five UK adults. The Guardian. June 19, 2013.
Insomnia: Britons’ health ‘at risk’ as 50% fail to get enough sleep. The Guardian. Nov. 12, 2011.
Mercola, J. Can Valerian Root Help You Sleep Better? Mercola.com. May 4, 2017.
Spritzler, F. How Valerian Root Helps You Relax and Sleep Better. Authority Nutrition.

Hot Flush Supplements

Can Hot Flush Supplements Really Work?

Hot flushes are the affliction most commonly associated with menopause ― for good reason. It’s estimated that between 75% and 85% of women experience hot flushes during their menopausal journey.

They’re felt as intense attacks of heat and sweating, and may cause your heart to beat in a rapid, percussive staccato. They can begin in your face, your chest or at the back of your neck and spread throughout your body. You may feel hot to the touch and experience nausea. They may rob you of sleep and extinguish your sex life.

And the effects often extend well beyond the physical. Depending on the severity and frequency, hot flushes can disastrously affect your relationships and home life, your social life and your ability to work.

For some, hot flushes may strike dozens of times a day, each lasting between two and thirty minutes. According to a 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, they last for around seven years on average, but may continue for as long as 11 or more years.

Despite all its associated symptoms, menopause is not a disease. It’s a natural part of life! Nonetheless, the symptoms can be life-disrupting, and women want ― and need ― relief. But can supplements really deliver you from the misery of hot flushes?

Let’s take a look at three frequently recommended hot-flush remedies: vitamin E, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.

Vitamin E

Clinical studies from as long ago as the 1940s have found menopausal women taking vitamin E had around a 50% reduction in the number of hot flushes they experienced.

In an Iranian study, hot flushes dropped from five a day to three for menopausal women taking 400 IUs of the alpha-tocopherol and tocotrienol forms of vitamin E daily for four weeks. They also became less severe.

These studies reflect the experience of many other women. Around 50 to 75 percent of women affected by menopausal symptoms, especially hot flushes, find vitamin E works reliably and effectively to provide relief.

We are still learning about the mechanisms involved in hot flushes, so our understanding of exactly how vitamin E works to relieve this troubling symptom is incomplete. Nonetheless, some things are becoming clear.

We do know, for example, that oestrogen deficiency is not the sole, direct cause of hot flushes and night sweats. That commonly held belief is an oversimplification.

In perimenopause, women typically experience falling progesterone levels while oestrogen levels may decrease to a lesser degree or remain consistent. In fact, oestrogen may be the last hormone to decline, with the lowest levels being reached in full menopause.

The result is an imbalance in the ratio between progesterone and oestrogen ― that is, too much oestrogen relative to progesterone. This imbalance, called oestrogen dominance, likely increases activity of the hypothalamus gland in the brain.

The hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulation of body temperature, responds by activating secretion of two hormones from the adjacent pituitary gland: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH).

If vitamin E levels are low, FSH and LH levels increase, causing blood vessels to dilate and allowing greater blood flow to the skin, which elevates temperature ― the symptoms of hot flushes. Interestingly, women in one study who were experiencing hot flushes were found to have elevated levels of the LH chemical 66 out of 66 times tested.

Supplementing with vitamin E helps decrease FSH and LH levels and reduce oestrogen production from the ovaries by interacting with oestrogen receptors and blocking it. This lowers hypothalamus activity and allows a “cooling off” period.

During the menopausal years, FSH and LH strength may increase by as much as 1,300 percent over previous levels.

Adelle Davis, a pioneering nutritionist who based her recommendations on evidence-based studies, wrote, “During the menopause, the need for vitamin E soars ten to fifty times over that previously required. Hot flushes and night sweats often disappear when 50 to 500 units of vitamin E are taken daily, but they quickly recur should the vitamin be stopped.”

Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

Folic acid’s effectiveness as a therapy for hot flushes has been the subject of considerable research, although most folic acid studies assume oestrogen deficiency as the cause of hot flushes.

One trial pitted 1-mg folic acid tablets against a placebo once a day for four weeks. Researchers saw significant symptom improvement and suggested that folic acid is an accessible, affordable method of treating hot flushes.

Another study focused on folic acid’s role in synthesis of the transmitters serotonin (which elevates mood) and noradrenaline (which increases stress) in the brain. Elevating serotonin increased its “feel-good” effects, and reducing noradrenaline lowered stress levels, which reduced hot flush symptoms.

The researchers in this study assumed that folic acid acted on these neurotransmitters in the same way as oestrogen and suggested that it therefore could be used as an inexpensive and effective alternative to oestrogen therapy.

Omega-3s

Omega-3s, which are fish oil, contain DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Every cell in your body requires these fatty acids, and, since your body can’t make them, they have to come from diet or from supplements.

A 2009 double-blind, controlled study of 120 women found that EPA, given over eight weeks in daily 1000-gram doses, could reduce hot flushes by half.

An Italian study compared omega-3 fish oil capsules with a soy isoflavone supplement and placebo. The omega-3 group, unlike the other two groups, experienced a steady decline in hot flush frequency.

The researchers explained that the omega-3 fatty acid’s ability to relieve hot flushes was likely due to their influence on neuronal [brain cell] membranes and/or their modulation of serotonin neurotransmitters, which lighten mood and relieve stress.

Yet another study focused on a link between hot flushes and the hypothalamus, the area of the brain mentioned above that regulates body temperature. The researchers hypothesised that insufficient oestrogen causes the hypothalamus to get the wrong signals and, as a result, turn up body temperature.

Omega-3s were thought to help ease hot flushes by reducing production of a particular type of eicosanoid (a signaling molecule) that promotes heat-generating inflammation.

How Do You Survive Hot Flushes?

Science is still learning about alternative treatments for hot flushes, and it appears performance of specific supplements may vary for different women. However, each of the above supplements has brought relief to significant numbers of women and made life bearable again.

Since conventional wisdom still attributes hot flushes solely to loss of oestrogen, it’s unsurprising that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most common recommendation. The idea is to replace what is thought to have been lost ― namely, oestrogen.

However, traditional HRT can pose risks for heart attack, stroke, blood clots and cancer. A far safer option is bioidentical hormone restorative therapy (BHRT), which uses plant-derived ingredients that duplicate the molecular structure of the hormones produced naturally within your body.

A great advantage of BHRT is that it enables accurate rebalancing of your hormones, which will bring oestrogen and progesterone into the proper ratio ― an excellent solution for taming hot flushes and, at the same time, for protecting against disease.

BHRT doesn’t carry the same health risks as HRT. Plus, advance testing enables formulation to meet your exact requirements, so it gives optimum results, including much-needed relief from hot flashes.

SOURCES:

Bani, S. et. al. The Effect of Folic Acid on Menopausal Hot flashes: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J
Journal of Caring Sciences. 2013 Jun; 2(2): 131-140.

Cohen, L., et. al. Efficacy of Omega-3 Treatment for Vasomotor Symptoms: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Menopause. 2014 Apr: 21(4): 347-354.

Dexter, M.B. Vitamin E for Menopause. Love to Know.

Ewies, A. Folic acid supplementation: The new dawn for postmenopausal women with hot flushes. World Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Nov 10, 2013; 2(4): 87-93.

Ferrari, N. Menopause-related hot flashes and night sweats can last for years. Harvard Health Publications. Feb. 23, 2015.

Harpaz, M. Can Vitamin E Reduce Hot Flashes? Menopause Matters. Jan. 6, 2013.

Hot Flashes. Women Living Naturally.

How to increase progesterone. Miscarriage Research.

Kelley, J.W. Fish Oil & Hot Flashes. LIVESTRONG. Aug. 16, 2013.

Menopause Symptoms and Treatments. DrWeil.com.

Northrup, C. Is This Your Perimenopause Transition? DrNorthrup.com.

Pick, M. Your Omega-3 Fatty Acid ― Essential for Health and Long Life. Women to Women.

Progesterone (not Estrogen) for Hot Flushes in Perimenopausal and Menopausal Women.

Remedies for Menopausal Symptoms. ProjectAWARE.

Sail Through Menopause with a Little B and E. Alive. Jul. 31, 2015.

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.

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3 Little Known Ways to Ease Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that causes pain, numbness and tingling in the hand and/or wrist. Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome are given a range of options to treat this debilitating health issue. But what happens when the traditional splint, injection therapy and anti-inflammatory agents provide little relief?

Hint: I’ve got three amazing natural treatments to tell you about!

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a gradually progressing condition that occurs when the nerves in the wrist become compressed due to swelling and inflamed tendons within the carpal tunnel.

Patients regularly complain of pain and numbness, tingling and weakness in the hand, and more specifically, in the thumb and first finger. This can make it difficult to grip objects and perform other simple task.

CTS affects women approximately three times more than men which may be due to the shift in hormone levels during pregnancy and menopause. In addition, women have smaller wrist bones, which makes the carpal tunnel naturally smaller to begin with. While CTS usually develops after the age of 30, the greatest risk is seen between the ages of 45 to 54. This is where we see the connection between declining hormone, menopause and CTS.

If you suspect that you have developed CTS, see a doctor immediately. It is important to diagnose and treat CTS promptly to reduce the possibility of permanent nerve damage.

What is the Carpal Tunnel?

To put it simply, the carpal tunnel is designed to be a shield. As described by the Mayo Clinic, it is a small passageway that protects the median nerve in your wrist. It also protects nine different tendons that are used to make the fingers bend. When the median nerve is subjected to too much pressure, numbness and tingling arise.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Most people think that typing is the leading cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, this isn’t true. According to NHS Choices, carpal tunnel is more likely to affect people who perform strenuous activities than those who type for a living. However, there are also many people who acquire this syndrome that do not work.

Researchers have found that a number of health conditions can play a part in the development of CTS. These can include: hormonal changes associated with menopause (leaving women much more susceptible to this syndrome), diabetes, excess weight, rheumatoid arthritis, and underactive thyroid (all good reasons to get your hormone levels checked). In addition, activities that stress the wrist, wrist injury, abnormal wrist structure, family history and pregnancy can contribute to the risk of developing CTS.

If you’re seeing few results from traditional treatments for CTS, check out these three alternative options.

1. Vitamin B6

Research on vitamin B6 and CTS is astounding. In fact, Prevention magazine reports that some experts claim that up to 90 percent of cases of CTS can be quelled with the use of this vitamin. But why?

According to Ryan-Harshman and Aldoori (2007), vitamin B6 is very important when it comes to the metabolic pathways of neural function. Remember that CTS is a condition associated with compression of the medial nerve. If you don’t have enough B6, you could potentially have problems with nerve conduction.

There is other research that backs this concept up. For example, Life Extension magazine reports that one study concluded that four patients who displayed vitamin B6 deficiency and took supplements for at least three months showed improvement in symptoms. The team later conducted another study in which all seven study subjects displayed insufficient levels of vitamin B6. When daily supplementation of 100-150 mg of B6 was given for two and a half to three months, symptoms improved greatly in comparison to research using placebos.

Give vitamin B6 a try. Just remember to choose a pharmaceutical-grade vitamin. Vitamins aren’t all the same, so you owe it to yourself to consume the best possible product on the market.

2. Yoga

As it turns out, the benefits of yoga extend far beyond stress relief. According to the Mayo Clinic, specific yoga postures may be useful in the treatment of CTS. This is because yoga postures can build strength, stretch the muscles, and balance the joints. The combination of these factors could potentially improve symptoms.

This is particularly true when it comes to improving grip strength. A randomized, single-blind controlled trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that patients who participated in a yoga-based regimen showed a greater improvement in symptoms than those who were given wrist splints. In addition, the patients reported greater pain reduction.

Your best bet is to find a reputable yoga class in your area. Ask your friends which instructors they prefer. An experienced teacher can show you exactly which yoga postures will be beneficial for you.

3. Cupping Therapy

According to a press release issued by the American Pain Society, researchers from Germany have found that cupping can help to reduce pain associated with CTS. Cupping therapy is a healing method used in China, India, Arabia, Central Europe, and Africa. The technique is said to boost microcirculation in order to improve symptoms.

The study, which was published in The Journal of Pain, involved more than 50 CTS patients who were separated into treatment and control groups. Those in the treatment group participated in wet cupping therapy, which involved the use of cupping glasses and skin punctures using a sterile lancet. Researchers concluded that patients who underwent cupping therapy experienced a “highly significant” decrease in symptoms. Just one treatment improved symptoms for a week.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland and is the most common form of thyroiditis. It is much more prevalent in women than men. It is an autoimmune disease.

The major role of the thyroid is to regulate growth and metabolism – in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, which causes it to dysfunction, therefore growth and metabolism will be slowed.

Common symptoms are:

  • weight gain,
  • cramps,
  • depression,
  • fatigue,
  • goiter,
  • muscle weakness,
  • constipation and sensitivity to cold.

However, some people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis display no symptoms.

If you suspect you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis check in with your restorative medicine doctor and do the appropriate blood tests (full thyroid panel). If you do have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis your doctor will restore thyroid hormones to alleviate your hormone deficiency. It is extremely important that the dosage is correct – when hypothyroidism is diagnosed, both T4 and T3 pathways should be restored. If you only restore T4 pathways, then you could still have low thyroid symptoms because of problems with the conversion of T4 to T3.

Conventional doctors usually only prescribe T4 (in the synthetic form). Restorative doctors prescribe T4 and T3 (in the natural form). T4 is the inactive form and needs to be converted in the bloodstream into T3, before it becomes the active form. There are no receptors in the body for T4 only T3.

Medicine prescribed by conventional doctors (Synthroid – synthetic) only contain T4. Armour Thyroid prescribed by restorative doctors are natural and made up of T4, T3 and other substances that assist the body in converting T4 to T3, such as calcitonin and selenium. Of course, it is important to get other hormones checked as thyroid dysfunction rarely happens alone. When basic hormones are low or imbalanced the immune system is weak, which may actually provoke autoimmune diseases including Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hormones are crucial in keeping our immune system in order. It is important to get it right if you want to be healthy!

As well as taking thyroid hormones, there are also certain supplements that can help discourage the immune system attacking the thyroid gland.

  • EPA/DHA (fish oil), omega-3 – when taking fish oils also take vitamin E to prevent oxidation or choose a source that contains vitamin E.
  • Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), omega-6 – it is important to maintain the correct ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, between 3:1 to 6:1, or it can lead to chronic inflammation and many other health problems. The diet today is very high in omega-6 and low in omega-3.
  • Magnesium – if you find it causes diarrhea take a lower dose.
  • Olive leaf extract – to be taken with food.
  • Probiotics – if taking any antibiotics make sure to wait 3 hours before taking probiotics.
  • Selenium – to be taken once a day.
  • Vitamin C – do not take a high dose if you are subject to kidney stones or gout.
  • Vitamin E – make sure to take mixed tocopherols, which is the more active form of vitamin E. Please first consult with your healthcare provider if you are taking blood thinners.