Menopause is a natural transition that all women go through. Although it can be a challenging time, it can also be an opportunity to embrace a new phase of life and improve our health and wellbeing.
I like to take my recommendations for my menopausal clients one step further and incorporate the very latest data in longevity science. Longevity science is focused on extending the human lifespan and improving healthspan, which is the number of healthy years that a person lives. By amalgamating longevity science with functional medicine, we can approach menopause with a positive mindset and take steps to optimise our health and vitality for years to come.
The first pillar of my approach for women experiencing menopausal symptoms is to identify the root cause of any health issues. This means looking beyond the symptoms and understanding the underlying factors that contribute to them. Remember, these symptoms are the body's way of showing us that something's out of whack or not functioning properly, so it's doing us a favour not just now but if we address it, for years to come.
For menopausal women, common symptoms such as hot flashes, brain fog, anxiety and joint pain can be caused by hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and oxidative stress.
To identify the root cause of these symptoms, we use the DUTCH test which allows us to evaluate the levels of stress hormones and reproductive hormones. The DUTCH test also shows us how our body deals with stress, the harmful break-down products of oestrogen & progesterone and which specific nutrient supplements to take to optimise our body's function.
The second pillar is to address imbalances through personalised treatment plans based on the DUTCH test results and their unique needs and goals. For my menopausal clients, this may involve bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, dietary changes, supplements, and lifestyle modifications.
Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is a common treatment for menopausal symptoms. It involves using bioidentical oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone to replace the hormones that decline during menopause to alleviate symptoms - the DUTCH test results clearly show which clients benefit from using bioidenticals.
Dietary changes can also be helpful in improving menopausal symptoms. I develop a nutrition plan of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Certain foods such as soy, flaxseeds, and nuts may also help to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms. Its not just about dietary changes, it's also about how and when we eat - enter the world of intermittent fasting! Intermittent fasting involves alternating periods of eating with periods of fasting, which has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and improve cellular repair, all of which are vital during the menopause and clients report huge shifts in wellbeing and symptom decline when changing their eating patterns.
Supplements can also be beneficial in improving menopausal symptoms. Research shows the following supplements can be helpful - omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, probiotics, black cohosh, ashwagandha, isoflavones, medicinal mushrooms, collagen, bacopa monnieri, turmeric, ginko biloba, antioxidants, digestive enzymes - all depending on the client's symptoms and functional medicine test results.
Finally, lifestyle modifications can also be helpful in improving menopausal symptoms and our overall wellbeing. I encourage my clients to engage in regular physical activity, get adequate sleep, manage stress, and practice self-care. In terms of exercise, cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises have been shown to be the most advantageous in up-regulating the hormones to improve mood, and decrease menopausal symptoms. Likewise, research shows the huge benefit of meditation, yoga and breathwork to manage cortisol levels and hence stress levels and cognitive function.
Adequate sleep is essential for optimal health and longevity. Women should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
By incorporating the pillars of functional medicine and longevity science into our approach to menopause, we can embrace this time of transition as an opportunity to optimise our health and wellbeing now and for years to come.
2-4th June - I'm hosting a series of online workshops focusing on the latest in longevity science and functional medicine that have been proven to reduce your biological age (the health of your organs and tissues) and optimise your wellbeing. Click here to read more