As 2017 draws to a close, you may be reflecting on all the joys you have had in life and all of the things you are looking forward to in 2018 and the years yet to come. But in order to make the most of all the opportunities you have as you get older — from baking holiday cookies with your grandchildren to celebrating milestones with the friends you have leaned on for decades — you need to find ways to manage the symptoms of menopause that might otherwise become distracting and disruptive to your daily life.
For women who are getting older, the effects of menopause can range widely. On some days, your complaints may be relatively minor, while on other days, you may experience debilitating symptoms that get in the way of your normal activities. When symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and fatigue are keeping you away from the things you enjoy most, you may start getting desperate for solutions. And with a new year on the horizon, there is no better time to try something new. Read on to learn more about some of the nutritional choices you can make that can help reduce the symptoms of menopause and enable you to live life to the fullest as you get older.
The Benefits of Including Lignans in Your Diet
In recent years, scientists have found that lignans can help reduce the symptoms of menopause. Lignans are chemicals that are found in many types of plants, and when you eat them, they are converted into two enterodiol and enterolactone, two hormone-like compounds. In the body, these two compounds have estrogenic activity — meaning that they can pick up some of the slack as your hormone levels decline during menopause. Because lignans are plant-derived compounds with estrogenic activity, they are commonly called phytoestrogens.
In recent years, many women have been turning to supplements that include phytoestrogens like lignan as alternatives to traditional hormone therapy for menopause symptoms. Studies have shown that in some women, phytoestrogens can be just as effective for reducing the effects of menopause as traditional medications. Also, hormone therapy can sometimes come along with undesirable side effects, whereas phytoestrogens are often well-tolerated in clinical study populations.
Often, the most effective way to get lignins into your diet is through nutritional supplementation. A nutritional supplement will provide lignans at “clinically relevant” levels — that is, levels that are high enough so that you actually notice a difference in your menopause symptoms. However, you can also boost your intake of lignans by eating more of the following foods:
- Flax seeds (the food source with the highest concentration)
- Whole grains (including rye, oats, and barley)
- Sesame seeds
- Cashews and peanuts
- Vegetables (especially broccoli and kale)
- Apricots and peaches
8-PN: The Most Potent Phytoestrogen?
Some researchers postulate that 8-prenylnaringenin, also known as 8-PN, is the most potent phytoestrogen — and, as a result, an important component of many supplements that are formulated to relieve the symptoms of menopause. Derived from hops, 8-PN has been shown to be particularly effective for treating vasomotor symptoms of menopause — especially hot flashes and night sweats. Although its exact mechanism of action is not entirely understood, studies in animal models indicate that its estrogenic activities can serve to reduce elevated skin temperatures associated with menopause. That can leave patients feeling cooler and reduce fatigue by helping to redirect energy that might otherwise be lost as heat.
How Probiotics May Increase the Effectiveness of Supplements for Menopause Symptoms
The gut microbiome play an important role in the synthesis of phytoestrogens. For instance, the conversion lignans to enterodiol and enterolactone requires chemical reactions that are directly carried out by the bacteria in the GI tract. Therefore, taking a probiotic or prebiotic supplement may be able to improve the effectiveness of a supplement that is formulated to reduce the symptoms of menopause. Both of these probiotic and prebiotic supplements are designed to maintain and improve the health of the gut microbiome, ensuring that the bacteria are ready to make the most of supplements that include lignan and 8-PN.
You can also maintain the health of your gut by eating fermented foods that naturally contain probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir, and kimchi. Not only can these help improve the absorption of the supplements you are taking, but they can also support healthy metabolism and neurological function as you get older.
Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness offers Aroma Reduct 222, which includes a proprietary blend of both 8-PN and plant-derived lignans. Thus, it is ideal for women who are seeking to relieve the normal discomforts of menopause. In addition, our nutritional offerings include probiotic and prebiotic supplements that may improve the effectiveness of the other supplements you are taking. To find out more about these and all of our products and services, contact us today!