Menopause and weight gain
15 November 2022
I’ve been busy busy reading and disseminating the most current research papers on menopausal weight gain and metabolic rerangement in preperation for speaking at a practitioner confernce and, as always to be better able to help my clients unravel their health goals.
There is an established metabolic phenomenon that occurs in late stage perimenopause and menopause:- abdominal weight gain, increases in cholesterol, insulin resistance and as a result a higher risk to develop T2 Diabetes. It’s complex… and multifactorial for sure. It is FAR more than simply oestrogen and progesterone have declined - replace that- and we are good to go!
Layers upon layers of nuances in any of the following require due attention : nutrigenomic makeup microbiome diversity, methylation status, thyroid health & its genetic vulnerabilities, hormone receptor efficiency, mitochondrial health, cell membrane integrity , personal inflammatory load , toxic burden, detoxification efficiency, metabolic reserves, stress response system adaptability, circadian patterns, hormones: leptin, adiponectin, progesterone, oestrogen , insulin, testosterone, oxytocin, metabolic flexibility.
So, a lot more than the decline of oestrogen and progesterone - albeit this is most definitely significant, but it is not the whole picture! Think about it like a score card, the more elements you have involved on your score card - that greater the negative impact to your metabolism as oestrogen and progesterone fall away- see image.
Let’s start with some hormones:
If we enter this life stage with an already disrupted insulin and glucose response form maybe not the best diet choices, not paying attention to building muscle or adopting healthy sleep patterns and / or with a number of strikes on your score card- the drop in oestrogen can be the preferable straw to tipping into metabolic derangement.
In the depths of the large bowel resides a collection of bacteria and their genetic material; termed the gut microbiome. Within this community, exists a department of about 60 different types of gut bacteria and fungi known as the estrobolome entirely dedicated to the task of regulating our levels of oestrogen.
This estrobolome community possesses a form of super power transforming used oestrogens that have arrived into the large bowel all ready to be eliminated in the stool , back into an active and usable form. This now active oestrogen can re-enter the bloodstream, acting on oestrogen receptors all over the body to help with better glucose control AND influence the overall microbiome, especially around the management of blood sugar- insulin resistance and weight gain…
As the image shows:
Here are some ideas to keep your microbiome diverse and populated with Akkermansia and SCFA producers for at least a decade before perimenopause and then beyond!
Certain plant-based foods contain phytoestrogens, which are naturally-occurring plant compounds that are structurally very similar to our own hormones. These compounds are found in a wide variety of foods and herbs, falling into three main categories of phytoestrogens:
These “dietary oestrogens” with their similar structure to oestrogen can impact the body by attaching to oestrogen receptors. The beauty of these compounds is they can either enhance the oestrogenic effect or slow it down. This is especially helpful for premenopausal and postmenopausal women compensating for the peaks and troughs of perimenopuase.
A recent study described recently in The New Scientist, reported women who including eating approx 86 grams of soybeans daily, reduces hot flushes in postmenopausal women!