HRT and Weight Gain
Traditional HRT is often associated with weight gain on the other hand Bio identical hormones and weight loss are closely related.
Nutrition is 70% of your health, exercise and lifestyle account for about 25%, and the hormones only for about 5%. However, when that 5% gets out of balance, the other 95% does not work well at all. So to combat menopause weight gain and begin weight loss, first we need to regain hormonal balance by replacing lost hormones with natural, bio identical ones.
We then initiate customised programs to help patients eat right, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Unbalanced hormones and weight gain do not have to be a part of your life. By combining fitness, nutrition and bio identical hormone replacement therapy you can experience success in controlling your weight gain. Employ a proper nutrition and fitness plan and correct hormonal imbalances with bio identical hormones and weight loss will come naturally.
During menopause, low estrogen levels promote fat storage in the belly area as visceral fat, which is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.
Also levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin are often found to be significantly higher among perimenopausal women, compared to premenopausal and postmenopausal women.
The low estrogen levels in the late stages of menopause may also impair the function of leptin and neuropeptide Y, hormones that control fullness and appetite.
Postmenopausal women are generally less active than when they were younger, which reduces energy expenditure and leads to a loss of muscle mass, we recommend building lean muscle mass through resistance training, reformer pilates, weight training, running and yoga.
Menopausal women also frequently have higher fasting insulin levels and insulin resistance, which drive weight gain and increase heart disease risk.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent weight gain around menopause:
- Reduce carbs: in order to reduce the increase in belly fat, which drives metabolic problems.
- Add fibre: aiming to eat 30grams per day with a diet that includes seeds which may improve insulin sensitivity.
- Work out: engage in strength training to improve body composition, increase strength and build and maintain lean muscle.
- Rest and relax: Try to relax before bed and get enough sleep, in order to keep your hormones and appetite under control.
It is oestrogen which stimulates female characteristics at puberty and controls a woman’s reproductive cycle. As women get older, their store of eggs in the ovary decreases and their ability to conceive diminishes. At this time, less oestrogen is produced, causing the body to behave differently. However the body does not stop producing oestrogen overnight, and the process can even take several years, during which symptoms arise gradually. This gradual change is called the ‘peri-menopause’. When periods stop complexity this is called Menopause.
As we grow older, our bodies may not produce antioxidants as well as we used to. We also start to experience more inflammation in the body, and as a result, we might experience more serious health issues. All of this ultimately contributes to poor hair health and possible thinning. Hair follicles are sensitive. To maintain hair health, especially if we’re genetically predisposed to thinning, we need to support our bodies against these kinds of physical stressors. Hair health issues are multifactorial, and while genetics loads the gun, environment and lifestyle pull the trigger.
Women may experience hair thinning during distinct stages in their lives: after the birth of a child, during periods of stress, or in the process of peri menopause or menopause. Research found that when a woman is transitioning into menopause, oestrogen and progesterone decline fairly rapidly. However, testosterone lingers a little longer. As a result of that, there is a period of time when a woman is in something called androgen dominance. That means there is a relatively large ratio of testosterone to oestrogen and progesterone. When we have that much testosterone, more of it may convert to dihydrotestosterone (DHT),implicated in men’s hair thinning. Ask us for treatments on hair thinning.
Maca, for general hormone support: During menopause, hormonal changes happen very, very fast. Studies on the adaptogen maca have shown that it is beneficial for menopausal women, even without affecting hormone levels.
Astaxanthin, to support healthy cell aging: With age, we experience the effects of oxidative damage that has accumulated over our lifetime. So we also added a compound called astaxanthin, which is derived from red algae. It’s a great choice as an antioxidant for the whole body.
Curcumim: the bioactive component from turmeric that supports a healthy immune system for a healthy inflammatory response. Research has verified the value of curcumin in helping promote cardiovascular health, immune health, neuronal health, and cellular health.
Because research shows there are elevated cortisol levels during menopause—and because cortisol affects so many other aspects of our physiology related to insulin, thyroid hormone, estrogen, and progesterone—we included ashwagandha as well, which is clinically proven at reducing cortisol levels over time.
Digestion also suffers at this stage of women’s lives. Higher stress levels compromise the gut and challenge the microbiome, and—this happens in general with age—our bodies can lose some of their stomach-acid production, which compromises digestion we recommend digestive enzymes to help counter balance this.
Hormones are made from fats, so it’s important to consume enough. I encourage women to go for fish for their omega-3s, plus extra virgin olive oil and avocados for their omega-9s. I recommend a diet low in simple carbohydrates—age-related changes in insulin sensitivity affect how we process sugars.
Whole foods with mild, plant-based oestrogens, like flaxseed or miso, can also help some women. I recommend high-collagen foods, like bone broth, because the collagen depletion that occurs with age affects the quality of your skin and hair, and collagen.
Plus, for general health, pilates and yoga is great for joint flexibility—something we tend to lose as we get older. Weight-bearing exercises help reduce the risk of osteoporosis that comes with oestrogen decline.
And as I mentioned before, microbiome diversity tends to decrease as we age. It’s great to take a pre biotic and probiotic to support microbial changes in the gut and help improve nutrient absorption.