More reasons to keep alcohol to a minimum
The adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption on postmenopausal women is in the news this week. A study published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) on over 2000 post-menopausal Korean women showed that drinking alcohol increased loss of muscle mass and strength which affects balance and agility. The women with a high alcohol consumption were four times more likely to develop these problems. Dr JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS says "With this study suggesting that more muscle loss leads to sarcopenia (the loss of muscle mass and strength) and other studies suggesting that even one drink of alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer, postmenopausal women should limit their alcohol intake."
The study suggests that these findings might be a cause for taking hormone therapy to boost oestrogen levels, but they overlook the fact that you can do a similar job with foods rich in phytoestrogen, which is structurally so similar to our own oestrogen. Soy, edamame beans and flaxseeds all contain good amounts of naturally occurring oestrogen. The study points out that regular exercise also helps to build muscle mass. We know from other research that alcohol brings on flushes and knocks out most nutrients. Maryon’s verdict: keeping fit will allow you to consume a moderate amount of alcohol without experiencing adverse change in your muscle mass.
1. Yu-Jin Kwon, Hyoung-Ji Lim, Yong-Jae Lee, Hye-Sun Lee, John A. Linton, Jae Woo Lee, Hee-Taik Kang. Associations between high-risk alcohol consumption and sarcopenia among postmenopausal women. Menopause, 2017; 1 DOI: 10.1097/GME.0000000000000879
Double trouble for overweight women at menopause
So often women going through menopause develop rolls of fat around their middle and generally find it more difficult to maintain their normal weight. This is partly because the metabolic rate slows down as we age and probably related to the fact that when we are feeling overwhelmed by menopause symptoms we are less likely to exercise, consume a healthy diet and generally look after ourselves.
A link to severe not flushes, increased joint pains, urinary symptoms and vaginal dryness has been found in a new study of women going through menopause who are significantly overweight. The study on 749 women was recently published in the journal Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS). It seems that women with a high body mass index have a double challenge at the time of the menopause.
When we feel bad we often comfort food and common food cravings don’t make it any easier. Getting your nutrients into an optimum range will help to overcome the cravings for food including chocolate. Low levels of the minerals chromium and magnesium as well as B vitamins have been shown to be necessary for normal blood glucose control. We are only born with a 16th of an ounce of chromium for example and it gets less as we age and we have established that magnesium is the most common deficiency amongst women. In addition, regular exercise helps to speed up the metabolism which will help to burn fat.
Maryon’s Verdict: If you are overweight at the time of the menopause clean up your diet, reduce your portion sizes, boost your nutrient levels and try to do five sessions of exercise per week. My patients lose weight on my programme without dieting.
Maryon’s programme, which she pioneered with her team at the Natural Health Advisory Service is based on published research, is outlined in her new book Beat Menopause the Natural Way with the accompanying film Get Fit for Midlife.