There's a reason the subject of menopause is taboo - namely because, in a nutshell, it sucks. Transitioning into the next phase of a woman's life is a huge psychological challenge akin to Survivor, not to mention the countless additional physical symptoms suffered as your mind and body simply refuse to play ball almost overnight.
Asked to describe menopause, I'd say it's as if the minutia of your daily life suddenly becomes overwhelming and unbearable, your temper seems to be off the chain and everything (and I mean every. little. thing) irritates and triggers you. Rest is no longer just an option, but an absolute necessity, and ironically the need occurs just when you suddenly can't seem to get or stay asleep, even when you are literally exhausted. Nothing that previously brought you joy or excitement is hitting the spot and your energy levels are as scarce as a friend during a house move... and the list goes on. And on.
As my Mother used to say, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything, and so here we all find ourselves in a mid-life crisis, blindsided in the dark, and still not talking about menopause. Yet, we have to talk about the perils of this juncture, as within the conversation lies a greater understanding and unspoken remedies all women should know about to help ease the evolution of menopause.
Protein is underrated in its power to help symptoms of menopause as it plays a vital role in supporting dopamine production and function in the body. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates various processes, including mood, motivation, and pleasure. It is often referred to as the "feel-good" neurotransmitter, providing the necessary building blocks, known as amino acids, for the synthesis of dopamine.
As you experience perimenopause and menopause, your dopamine levels are impacted due to hormonal fluctuations. During these stages, there is a massive decline in estrogen and progesterone production, which influences your neurotransmitter activity, including dopamine. Estrogen is known to modulate dopamine receptors and regulate dopamine release in the brain. Therefore, as estrogen levels decrease, it can affect dopamine signalling, creating Karen'esque mood changes and decreasing motivation during menopause.
Increased stress levels and anger are a direct consequence of the hormonal imbalances suffered during perimenopause and menopause. Worse, chronic stress experienced years prior to menopause can further disrupt dopamine regulation and impair its function, leading to even more of a decrease in your overall dopamine levels - think seismic mood swings, fatigue, and a gob-smacking decrease in pleasure and motivation.
Tyrosine and phenylalanine are two essential amino acids involved in dopamine synthesis. These amino acids are obtained from dietary protein sources and are converted into L-DOPA, a precursor to dopamine. Adequate protein intake ensures a sufficient supply of these amino acids, promoting the synthesis of dopamine and supporting optimal neurotransmitter function.
The good news? Maintaining a balanced diet with adequate protein intake can help support dopamine production and mitigate the potential effects of these hormonal fluctuations. By including protein-rich foods in your daily diet, such as a morning protein shake, lean meats, fish, legumes, and dairy products, ensures an adequate supply of amino acids necessary for dopamine synthesis. The even better news? Protein helps control appetite and promotes satiety, which can be beneficial for managing weight fluctuations and that ego-crushing and uncomfortable 'meno-belly' that often occurs during this stage of life. Additionally of help, incorporating other nutrients such as vitamin B6, folate, and iron, commonly found in protein-rich foods, can further support dopamine production and overall neurotransmitter balance.
It is important to note that while diet plays a role in supporting dopamine levels, it is just one factor among many that influence neurotransmitter function. Other lifestyle factors, such as regular exercise, stress management techniques, and adequate sleep, also play crucial roles in maintaining optimal dopamine levels and overall well-being during perimenopause and menopause.
Collagen, the most abundant protein in the body, provides structural support to various tissues, including the skin, bones, joints, and hair. As women enter menopause, declining estrogen levels can lead to a decrease in collagen production, resulting in skin dryness, wrinkles, joint discomfort, and brittle nails. Supplementing with collagen can help counteract these effects and promote overall skin health, joint mobility, and bone strength.
Collagen supplementation can also support gut health, which is particularly relevant during perimenopause and menopause. Changes in hormone levels can affect digestion and lead to gut-related issues such as bloating, gas, and constipation. The amino acids present in collagen helps to repair and rebuild the intestinal lining, promoting a healthy gut environment.
Including certain foods in your diet can optimise both protein and collagen intake, providing the necessary building blocks for overall health and well-being during perimenopause and menopause.
Chicken breast: High in protein, low in fat, and rich in essential amino acids.
Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines): Excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and protein.
Greek yogurt: Packed with protein, calcium, and probiotics for gut health.
Legumes (beans, lentils): Plant-based protein sources that also offer fibre and antioxidants.
Bone broth: A nutritious liquid made by simmering bones and connective tissues, providing collagen and minerals.
Fish and seafood: Certain fish, such as salmon and tuna, contain collagen-rich skin and bones.
Berries: High in vitamin C, which supports collagen synthesis.
Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, broccoli provide nutrients that aid collagen production.
Avocado: Contains monounsaturated fats that help maintain hormonal balance.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.
Olive oil: Rich in antioxidants and healthy fats, beneficial for heart health.
Colourful fruits and vegetables: Berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, and leafy greens contain antioxidants that protect against cellular damage.
Dark chocolate and cocoa: High in anti-oxidants.
These mega filling and absolutely delicious ISALEAN Shakes are designed to support both muscle building and weight loss. A daily shake in vanilla, banana, strawberry, dutch chocolate and choc-mint will deliver all the quality protein, good fats, essential vitamins and minerals you need to help you glide into, and through menopause.
Illuminate from the inside out with a daily effective dose of Scandinavian marine-sourced collagen peptides. Isagenix Collagen Elixir can give you a boost of collagen which naturally declines as we age and helps nourish your skin from within to keep you radiantly beautiful.
Note: If you are experiencing significant mood changes or other symptoms, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for a comprehensive evaluation and personalised treatment plan, or contact us on email for a plan at email@example.com