Can plant Omega-3 reduce heart attacks more than fish oil? Yes!

Omega_3_Fatty

I have always been a great follower of Flaxseed oil over Fish oil for greater nutritional value, so I had to share  this article by Naturopath Case Adams

Two large research reviews by medical scientists have determined that omega-3 fatty acid from plants reduce the incidence of heart disease and heart attacks while fish oil has only a slight (“insignificant”) effect.

The most recent study focusing on the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) comes from researchers at Harvard Medical School along with several other prestigious universities. The researchers analyzed 27 clinical trials that studied 251,049 human subjects. The studies included over 15,000 heart attacks and other cardiovascular events.

The cardiovascular events were cross-referenced against either supplementation or blood levels of ALA. In total, increased consumption of alpha-linolenic acid omega-3 fatty acids resulted in a 14% total reduction of heart attacks and associated cardiovascular events. And as trends were pooled and examined with ALA blood biomarkers, the reduction in cardiovascular events was as high as 20%.

These results are contrasted with another large review of research, published in September’s Journal of the American Medical Association. The research comes from medical researchers from Greece’s Ioannina University Medical School and Hospital. In this study, researchers utilized the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials of research for fish oil and cardiovascular events research through August of 2012.

The researchers analyzed 20 studies involving 68,680 human subjects. Among these, there were 3,993 deaths from heart attacks and cardiovascular events, 1,150 sudden deaths, 1,837 heart attacks and 1,490 strokes. Against these were cross-referenced marine-sourced (fish) omega-3 fatty acids, which include DHA and EPA, along with saturated fats (yes, fish oil typically contains saturated fats).

The research found that fish oil supplementation did slightly reduce the incidence of heart attacks by 11% and heart attack deaths by 9%. However, given the scale of the margin of error, the researchers concluded that fish oil supplementation, “was not associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke based on relative and absolute measures of association.” In other words, there wasn’t enough of a difference from the margin of error to claim fish oil reduces heart attacks or cardiovascular events.

Supporting the conflicting evidence, the researchers also stated:

“Treatment with marine-derived omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) for the prevention of major cardiovascular adverse outcomes has been supported by a number of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and refuted by others.”

The research on plant-based alpha-linolenic acid omega-3s has not been so controversial because research over the years has consistently shown ALA’s ability to help prevent cardiovascular events and cardiovascular disease. And this is illustrated with the size of the study analysis (totalling 251,049 humans).

Alpha-linolenic acid is one of the primary fatty acids found in various seeds, nuts and grains. Some of the highest levels are found in chia seeds (64%), kiwi fruit seeds (62%), flaxseeds  (55%) and hemp seed (20%). Other good sources include walnuts, pumpkin seeds,sesame seeds, olives, canola, kale, spiriulina, spinach and others.

In addition to being well utilized by the body, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is also converted to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid 9EPA) and other important omega-3s within the body. The primary liver enzyme used in the conversion of ALA to DHA is delta-6 desaturase. DHA converts to EPA in the body as needed. A healthy person will convert ALA to DHA at a rate of from 7% to 15% according to research.

For those who convert ALA to DHA at a slower rate, algal DHA provides the purest form of DHA. DHA is produced by algae and travels up the sealife food chain. Algal DHA does not contain saturated fats as many fish do. DHA-producing algae is farmed in tanks in the absence of mercury, PCBs and dioxins that have been known to bioaccumulate within fish.

DHA and EPA are the central fatty acids in fish oil besides saturated fat. It also should be noted that fatty fish such as salmon also contain a considerable amount of arachidonic acid. Foods rich in arachidonic acids have been shown to increase inflammation in the body.

Did you know? What the difference is between a cosmetic and a cosmeceutical?

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I am often asked ‘what’s the difference between a cosmetic and a cosmeceutical cream?’ The difference between them is whether the product can penetrate the skin’s surface to promote change on a cellular level. Cosmetics are simply creams or lotions that … Continue reading

Whats wrong with my face 2

Bella 2015 Master

How to maintain your skin through facial diagnosis and digestive health. Continue reading

Are you allergic or intolerant? Or have lousy digestion? The confusion clarified!

food+allergies

* So you cannot eat certain foods, or your children cannot. Or you and your children have the same food issues. But how do you know if you are allergic or intolerant? And why are your symptoms becoming worse with … Continue reading

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Thank you for those of you enjoying my posts!

Kindest

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Managing the madness of Menopause

In my last blog post I wrote about Perimenopause and what its symptoms were. I am sure, like me, many girls were surprised to find that all of their lack of wellness was in fact Perimenopause and quite normal.

For those of you who did not read the article, or have quite understandably forgotten it, especially likely if you are pre or post menopausal – the following are all of the symptoms which you may or may not have started seeing some of from around 37 to 38 years of age.

  • Hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats, cold flashes or a clammy feeling – most of these do not start till around the mid 40s for most.
  • Irregular heart beat, this can be just like a flutter, or you can feel as if you are having a heart attack!
  • Irritability, who called me irritable! There is nothing wrong with me – someone hand me a sharp knife!
  • Mood swings with sudden tears, I am not moody, you are just so horrid and inconsiderate……..
  • Trouble sleeping through the night.
  • Irregular periods, shorter lighter periods, heavier periods, flooding, phantom periods, shorter or longer cycles.
  • Loss of libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Crashing fatigue, this can come with a aching body.
  • Anxiety or depression, feeling ill at ease, feelings of doom and blackness. Feeling as if you just cannot cope with either small things or big things. Generally a feeling of great unhappiness.
  • Aching sore joints – feeling as if you are an old woman. Back aches, legs and arms etc. Increased tension in the muscles
  • Difficultly concentrating, mental confusion, disorientated. Foggy brain, with memory lapses, which can be highly embarrassing! Who are you? Oh one of my clients?
  • Incontinence, especially when sneezing, laughing or running.
  • Breast tenderness
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort including gas, indigestion, flatulence, pain, nausea and bloating
  • Allergies which used to be intolerances, become full blown allergies
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss, everywhere except on the upper lip and what’s this? Hair on my chin?
  • Dizziness, vertigo, light headedness and loss of balance, sometimes with Tinnitus (ringing or whooshing or buzzing sound in the ears)
  • Change in body odor, as well as a terrible awareness of other people’s body odor (especially your teenage kids and that man in front of you in the supermarket cue).
  • Changes in fingernails, they become thinner, as does the skin on your face. A noticeable sag starts to occur around the jawline and neck, stomach, thighs and bottom. The skin on your body and face thins and lines become prominent, as does pigmentation. Cellulite seems to spring up all over in areas where it never existed before, even with a strict exercise routine and diet.
  • Sugar cravings, must have sugar, or else……..
  • Gum problems, bleeding gums, plus bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor and burning tongue and roof of mouth

I found until my mid 40s, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and exercise kept me more or less mentally on the straight and narrow. But my weight gain bothered me, I upped the exercise, but found that I could just never get down to the same weight as when I was 37 years old. I had always been vague, but some days, honestly, hello, anybody home? The most annoying thing was the periods. I would loose my bladder for a week before, menstruate, and all would be well for another two weeks.

I had always suffered from anxiety, but it did worsen, and unfortunately has not improved since.

When I reached my late 40s that is when all of it went out of control. The hardest part I found, was that although I now knew what was wrong with me, I could not find a solution.

I must have tried everything! But it was only when confronted with severe hot flashes during a very hot January, where I found myself nearly fainting every time I turned the steamer on, that I took to resolving all of my “ailments” as my husband calls them.

Like all of us, I was hoping to find the solution in a pill. I went from one natural menopause pill to the next. Nothing worked. I slowly and progressively became more agitated and harder to live with. I could not stand dealing with brides anymore, my adorable sweet natured contractor used to have to work her rear end off trying to keep weddings at a even keel, whilst I slowly and steadily became more and more anxious and agitated.

My crisis point came when one day I noticed Emma (my contractor) looking at me during a wedding with a look of such stress, that I knew it was me sending her mad, not the bride!

I came home to find my husband missing as usual and it dawned on me he had taken to hiding most evenings in the garden. I confronted him on this (I was so confrontational at that time), and he said stepping slowly backwards that I had been challenging to live with. At this time I was trying the last of the off the shelf menopause tablets I could buy, which made me highly aggressive due to the addition of Tribulus Terrestris added to increase sex drive, which also increases your testosterone levels.

This jar of tablets, like all the others went straight into the bin.

So now I had wasted hundreds of dollars, yet had not found a solution. Some of them had caused me to gain fluid, others to become exhausted, and others, made me quite crazy, I was lost. What was I to do? I was not going to give into this, I was going to find a solution, so I could go through this stage of my life feeling a lot more normal.

Like with everything, there are solutions, but even the best are effected by stress and fatigue. The truth is, at this stage in our lives, we need to take care of ourselves. Just as teenagers need more sleep, and we allow them to do so, we need more rest, or at least more down time. Super woman needs to put her cape away in a draw or hand it down to her daughter, it is time for sensible, healthy, well exercised happy woman to put her walking shoes on, plug into her meditation sounds on her ipod and start walking. Ideally she will do two or three yoga sessions per week.

It is time for relaxed happy woman to take a healthy blend of greens every day with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and tablespoon of flaxseed oil to aid her digestion, purify her liver and to sort out her dodgy gut. But also to support her body nutritionally, as it is going through a massive amount of change. It is also time to take probiotics nightly to help support her gut and magnesium to help her sleep and ease any cramps and ease any anxiety.

Yup, so not happening you say – but I am sorry, unless you first take care of you, which I know from experience is easier said than done (I am writing this article after 21 days straight of work with no time off), just implementing any or all of these things will help you stay in a good place. Because, all of the symptoms will keep on happening, no matter what you take to take them away unless you firstly take care of you.

Depending on your time, money and how badly you wish to get things under control, you can start on hormone therapy. I am not speaking about HRT, but natural hormone replacement done by specialist doctors. They take a blood sample to find out how much or little you have of every hormone and prescribe a natural hormone replacement program to ease all of your symptoms. Some of my clients have opted for this and found it successful, but I have also noticed that their stress levels, increase or decrease in exercise will throw their treatment out, and they have to go back and forth rebalancing their hormone levels. It still is the most controlled treatment, and all of them are happy with it.

I am a believer in supporting the body to do its bit, so have not followed that path. I recommend all girls monitor their wellbeing so they actually know why they are getting all of the dodgy symptoms. I know I get all of the hormonal symptoms the moment my immune levels drop, usually caused due to overwork and not enough sleep, so I see them as a reminder to take care of me.

There are many off the shelf natural pills to treat menopause, but as I said earlier, I personally found none of them worked for me.

The most popular ingredients in menopause tablets are Black Cohosh and Chaste tree. For some women one or both of these ingredients work wonders, for others like myself, they cause more problems.

Another thing many menopause tablets contain are isoflavones, they complement the body’s declining estrogen levels during menopause. But if you are someone with excess estrogen and low on progesterone, this will not work for you.

Personally what I have found, as have my and faithful guinea pig clients, is that supporting the body to sort its hormones out works best. Giving the body what it needs to do its bit.

The following have helped all of us.

Pregnenolone – is the precursor to every other hormone. It balances the hormones, improves feelings of wellbeing and improves mood. Reduces depression and the damaging effects of stress, stimulates memory and its storage process.

The cells of both the adrenal gland and the central nervous system synthesize pregnenolone. Human studies show there are much higher concentrations of pregnenolone in the nervous tissue, than in the bloodstream. Animal studies indicate the concentration of pregnenolone in the brain is ten-fold higher than that of other stress-related hormones (including DHEA). Pregnenolone is present in the blood as both free pregnenolone and a more stable form, pregnenolone-sulfate.

It helps with improved sleep, decreases stress levels and alleviates depression.

There are negligible side effects. The only listed are bloating and fluid retention when too much is taken. I take 50 mg daily. And do not find that my bloating or fluid issues are any different than before. I have found that all round, I cope a lot better with life in general.

Unfortunately it can only be ordered online from overseas suppliers. By itself it works well, but does not alleviate the hot flashes.

The following herbs I have found mixed together help a lot;

  • Damiana – is a natural antidepressant. It increases sexual desire, increases energy and eases menstrual problems.
  • Dong Quai – decreases hot flashes, eases cramps and PMS. It increases energy and is a liver tonic.
  • Blessed Thistle – balances hormones, aids liver detoxification, and is a wonderful digestive tonic.
  • Dandelion – detoxes the liver, helps with urinary disorders, aids bone health, clears kidneys of waste, and cleans the gallbladder.
  • Wild Yam – relieves hot flashes and eases menstrual cramps, relaxes muscles, assists circulation, calms, helps with insomnia, headaches and migraines.
  • Withania – is calming and restores energy.

Most of these herbs can be found in a wonderful pill called Herbal Enhancer. Type it into the internet and you will find multiple outlets for it. I have found that as long as I stay on these pills I stay calm and focused. The moment I run out – careful, things go seriously pear shaped! But I still have to do the following;

I highly recommend that you start on a greens blend daily to detox and nutritionally support the body. One tablespoon apple cider vinegar to nutritionally support the immune system. Flaxseed oil or flaxseed oil tablets for its essential fatty acids as well as the omegas. Take a probiotic taken nightly to support the gut, and magnesium powder to help you sleep.

As always drink your 2 litres of filtered water daily and make sure you have a glass next to the bed when you go to sleep. Often when you wake up throughout the night, it is because of dehydration, or if you are having a hot flash, it helps cool you down as well as replacing the fluids you have lost perspiring. If you like chamomile tea, make a big mug with a decent spoonful of honey in it (make sure you place a lid on the mug and allow the tea to brew for 5 minutes to ensure you get all of the essential oils out of the tea). This will hydrate you and relax you all in one go.

If you have time in the morning to meditate, meditate. But if that is another added stress to your day – a soothing meditation tape whilst exercising will drop your blood pressure and help you to start your day on a more peaceful note. Or play a meditation tape as you lie down to go to sleep to take you to a calmer place.

Work out what your triggers are. I notice that when I eat junk food, or just bad food, besides serious indigestion, I get hot flashes and severe anxiety. Whilst the standard foods you are supposed avoid like coffee and chillies have absolutely no side effects.

Due to your digestion failing to do its bit, watch how you react to foods. Do some foods make you bloated, gassy, or burp? Do they make you tired and or nauseous? You may find that you have become intolerant of them for example dairy or gluten. Carry digestive enzymes around with you when you are eating out, it may help you digest a meal, which otherwise could keep you up all night.

The whole menopausal process does not stop the day you go from pre to post menopause, so as soon as you begin to recognize the signs, start to treat yourself. It is not a disease, it is just part of life. Just as we go through our teens, we go through menopause.You have not stopped being a woman, you are now just becoming a wise one.

Am I going mad? The ups and downs of Perimenopause/Menopause

So, you are 37 or 38 and you think Menopause is at least a good 12 – 15 years away. Nothing to worry about. So not going to affect you. You exercise most days, eat well, and generally take good care of yourself.

But annoyingly, you have noticed a slight weight gain around your middle that just will not budge. You have upped your training schedule, but there it still is. Work is driving you mad, not every day, just sometimes, it never used to, but there are days when people make you want to just – well smack them!

PMT anyone? There is nothing wrong with you – its just, well your husband and children – they just need to know the truth about their annoyingness at least for one week of the month! And you just cannot keep your thoughts to yourself anymore!

Take yourself now to 42 or 43. That damn weight is just so irritating! You just cannot budge it! And you are often just too tired to do anything beyond go to work, take care of the children and your husband, well honestly, does he not understand that you are too tired, too anxious and too depressed to want to make love to him.

As you get closer to 50, 46 or 47,you notice your memory is just not as good as it used to be, you may also loose your bladder every time you sneeze no matter how many Kegel exercises you do to tighten downstairs.

If you suffer from any of the below, don’t worry, they are all just perimenopausal symptoms, there is nothing wrong with you (or so the doctor may say) but to live through some of them, or many of them – is pure hell!

  • Hot flashes, hot flushes, night sweats, cold flashes or a clammy feeling – most of these do not start till around the mid 40s for most.
  • Irregular heart beat, this can be just like a flutter, or you can feel as if you are having a heart attack!
  • Irritability, who called me irritable! There is nothing wrong with me – someone hand me a sharp knife!
  • Mood swings with sudden tears, I am not moody, you are just so horrid and inconsiderate……..
  • Trouble sleeping through the night.
  • Irregular periods, shorter lighter periods, heavier periods, flooding, phantom periods, shorter or longer cycles.
  • Loss of libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Crashing fatigue, this can come with an aching body.
  • Anxiety or depression, feeling ill at ease, feelings of doom and blackness. Feeling as if you just cannot cope with either small things or big things. Generally a feeling of great unhappiness.
  • Aching sore joints – feeling as if you are an old woman. Back aches, legs and arms etc. Increased tension in the muscles
  • Difficultly concentrating, mental confusion, disorientated. Foggy brain, with memory lapses, which can be highly embarrassing! Who are you? Oh one of my clients?
  • Incontinence, especially when sneezing, laughing or running.
  • Breast tenderness
  • Gastrointestinal discomfort including gas, indigestion, flatulence, pain, nausea and bloating
  • Allergies which used to be intolerances, become full blown allergies
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss, everywhere except on the upper lip and what’s this? Hair on my chin?
  • Dizziness, vertigo, light headedness and loss of balance, sometimes with Tinnitus (ringing or whooshing or buzzing sound in the ears)
  • Change in body odor, as well as a terrible awareness of other people’s body odor (especially your teenage kids and that man in front of you in the supermarket cue).
  • Changes in fingernails, they become thinner, as does the skin on your face. A noticeable sag starts to occur around the jawline and neck, stomach, thighs and bottom. The skin on your body and face thins and lines become prominent, as does pigmentation. Cellulite seems to spring up all over in areas where it never existed before, even with a strict exercise routine and diet.
  • Sugar cravings, must have sugar, or else……..
  • Gum problems, bleeding gums, plus bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor and burning tongue and roof of mouth

Plus, this will be followed by an increased chance of Osteoporosis in later years. You will not necessarily get all of the symptoms, but if you do, not all at the same time, thank goodness!

But having gone through most of these symptoms on and off, whilst trying different natural treatments to balance my hormones, I know at 50, I do not wish anyone else to go through them.

Some women are lucky enough to barely notice they are going through the change, others will have a small range of symptoms, whilst unfortunately most women will suffer many of them.

Fair enough – I cannot stop you from going grey or growing hair on your chin, but there are ways to make the change less trying, ideally, a complete non- event!

First of all – lets look at Menopause/Perimenopause so we actually know what is going on.

Each woman experiences Menopause differently than another. The truth be known, the more relaxed you are, the better the transition. But most women work during this time in their life whilst juggling teenage or small children, and stress is an unpleasant part of life.

I could tell you to manage your stress better – but I am the last person to talk, my last 5 years have been so tumultuous, that for me sleeping 8 hours and walking the dog daily are my two serious luxuries in life. So the hormone balancing tricks I will tell you about, having worked for me, I am sure they will give you the balance you wish for.

But that is for later – lets first look at what is going on with your body.

Firstly, menopause is only 1 day – it is the day you go from being a menstruating woman to a non-menstruating woman. So basically, the day you get your last natural period. Every woman will go through menopause, and when the time is right, you will have it.

Just because you stopped menstruating, does not mean you will stop all the hormonal symptoms, they may continue till you are close on 60 years old.

The simple reality is that hormones decline with age. In so saying, hormones are essential to life. They are the connectors to the brain, muscle, sex organs and virtually every part of the body. They are so important to us that without them you would die.

But they are terribly sensitive, a mixed message, a broken connection or an unclear communication from one hormone to another can cause a imbalance, upsetting everything. And you find yourself walking around behaving erratically!

ESTROGEN

Estrogen levels will drop by 30% before you turn 50, with significant fluctuations occurring during your 40s and often well into your early 50s. Most of the drop occurs in the first 5 years of Perimenopause.

Estrogen is the feminine hormone. It is what gives us our curves, shapes our breasts, hips, and thighs as well as affecting our sex organs.

It maintains our blood sugar levels, protects against osteoporosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, colon cancer, Parkinson’s, incontinence, and tooth loss.

Estrogen receptors are also in the brain, where they help brain cells make connections allowing our minds to stay sharp, memory clear, and maintain emotional balance.

Estrogen levels begin fluctuating at 35 due to us ovulating less as we age. Without ovulation, progesterone levels drop significantly often causing an estrogen spike to compensate. This spiking and then dropping again of estrogen causes abrupt emotional highs and lows, hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia, fatigue and low sex drive.

Dr John Lee coined a term in his book ‘What your doctor may not tell you about Menopause’ called ‘Estrogen dominance’. It is when your body has an estrogen high or low, but has no progesterone to balance it out.

Excess estrogen is linked with breast, ovarian and uterine cancer as well as endometriosis. Uterine fibroids grow larger and fibrocystic breasts become denser.

Besides naturally occurring hormone fluctuations, events outside the body can bring about estrogen dominance such as;

Toxic stress.

Toxic stress occurs when a woman is under excessive stress for long periods of time. It occurs when the adrenal glands send out for back up in the form of cortisol. Cortisol can suppress progesterone allowing for an increase in estrogen.

Diet.

Diets high in sugar and starches cause increased fat storage through the insulin hormone. Fat cells produce enzymes that increase estrogen in the blood. This causes weight gain, sore breast and heavy periods.

Birth control pills.

Birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen which can cause nausea, weight gain and other negative symptoms in women who have high estrogen levels.

Sluggish liver.

A healthy liver eliminates excessive estrogen and sex hormone binding globulin. Ageing, caffeine, sugar, alcohol and medications impair liver function, decreasing the liver’s ability to eliminate excess estrogen.

Illness.

A viral infection can effect the thyroid gland causing a imbalance in thyroid hormones negatively influencing progesterone and estrogen production.

Xenohormones

Xenohormones are a buzzword on most health conscious peoples lips. Today synthetic chemicals are found in foods such as vegetables, oats, and wheat etc due to the huge amount of chemicals sprayed on our foods whilst they are growing them. Even more are found in packaged foods especially processed foods, due to the leakage from the plastic packaging. Preservatives, additives, sugar replacement and fast foods all are loaded with xenohormones. The pollution in the air you breath when you live in a city environment, especially when you live in the inner city suburbs. These ‘fake’ hormones are able to communicate with your cells in a pattern almost exactly like that of estrogen. They are also able to suppress the immune system. The prefix ‘xeno’ means foreign. So xenohormone means an element from outside the body which behaves as a hormone in its communication with the body. These fake hormones are linked to breast cancer and other illness.

Hysterectomy/oophorectomy

When a woman’s uterus and ovaries are removed, progesterone production virtually stops which can create estrogen dominance and result in depression, fatigue, weight gain and loss of sex drive.

PROGESTERONE

Progesterone will drop by 75% from the age of 35 to 50 and then continue to decline from there on.

It is primarily produced by the ovaries and works with estrogen to prepare the uterus for conception. Although it works with estrogen, it is responsible for preventing an excess of estrogen in the body. When both are balanced, the changeover to menopause is smooth.

Progesterone is the mood hormone, and leading up to a period it is important to maintain high levels. A low level paves the way for estrogen dominance creating PMS symptoms and emotional imbalance. The more infrequently a woman ovulates the less progesterone she produces.

Progesterone’s job is:

  • A mood enhancer, therefore working as a natural antidepressant, and natural calmative.
  • It keeps skin hair and nails healthy, also prevents hair loss.
  • It regulates fluid levels working as a natural diuretic
  • It burns fat for energy and provides necessary control for insulin regulation.
  • It protects against endometrial cancer, fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer.
  • Helps support the thyroid
  • May protect against bone loss
  • Regulates body temperature
  • Controls monthly bleeding by normalizing blood clotting.

When progesterone levels drop women start to experience early symptoms of menopause which include nervousness, depression, blue moods, dry skin, hair and brittle nails, insomnia, weight gain and erratic or heavy periods.

Progesterone creams and supplements are often the first step of action taken by holistic practitioners when treating Perimenopause.

TESTOSTERONE

Testosterone declines by 50% from the age of 25 to 50, and another 50% by the age of 80.

This is the forgotten hormone in women. Low testosterone symptoms are fatigue, muscle weakness and atrophy, low libido, and low sexual sensation. This hormone is normally related to men as they produce 50% more than women do, but women still need it and produce it in the adrenal glands and the ovaries.

Women need it for energy, vitality, sex drive and endurance. We also need it for muscle tone and bone strength – therefore protecting us from osteoporosis, and for vaginal elasticity and lubrication.

Most perimenopausal women are low on testosterone, but some have high levels. High levels can be caused due to excessive stress, but is usually related to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). If a woman has facial hair, weight gain, acne and depression it is likely that her testosterone levels are high. If you have had PCOS earlier on in life, you are likely going to have high testosterone levels during perimenopause.

Stress can also reduce testosterone in some women whilst increasing it in others, depending on how they normally deal with stress. Some women move faster and faster, eating less and less whilst loosing huge amounts of weight. Others burn out and curl up in a ball and become sick and puffy and bloated.

Having an understanding of why your body is behaving the way it is, will help you take the first step in dealing with Perimenopause.

For therapists, understanding why their clients are suffering the way they are and why they are not responding to weight loss and facial treatments, will help you think outside the square, if not just helping the client by explaining what is going on with their bodies.

Next blog post, I will go into how we can manage perimenopause, so that the transition is a smooth one!