Can I have my energy back please?!?
Did you know in a cross-sectional study 83% of postmenopausal women reported fatigue? And it’s not only postmenopausal women that suffer from fatigue, it’s perimenopausal women too. In fact, it’s one of the most prevalent symptoms in the years leading up to menopause. You can feel like your motivation has all but vanished and you don’t have an ounce of energy to get through the day. You can feel tired from the minute you open you eyes in the morning.
Why why WHY ?
The hormonal picture at this time can be really complicated and differs from women to women. What is true for you in perimenopause may not be the same post menopause and there are many other health factors to consider too. Around menopause the sex hormones, progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone and the blood sugar controlling hormones insulin and cortisol are all have a merry dance. Progesterone has pretty much left the party while oestrogen is the last to go. Testosterone may be the loudest one there or could have snuck off home when no one was looking and insulin and cortisol don’t know whether they are coming or going!
The consequence of all this amongst many other symptoms, can be fatigue. For some it can be debilitating, especially if combined with hot flushes and insomnia. Our hormones affect processes in the body that influence our energy production. When we think about energy we need to consider our thyroid and adrenal glands, our vitamin and mineral status, our iron levels and how well the body is delivering oxygen to the cell as well as our blood sugar markers and how efficiently we are using glucose from food. Many of these functions can be compromised in menopause. All these can be tested for its alway a good idea to run new symptoms past a menopause doctor.
So … what can I do?
There are key nutrients that are well known for energy namely B vitamins and magnesium. Magnesium is a wonder nutrient with so many functions. Sadly many of our foods are depleted of this nutrient due to poor soils so for mid life health it is more often than not a good idea to supplement. It’s important to find the right type. When it comes to overall support I find magnesium bisglycinate a good choice as it’s well absorbed. I like this one. Not only does it help with fatigue but it helps with muscle and joint pain, blood sugar control and best of all, sleep!
B vitamins are important at any time of life but they can be especially so in menopause. Vitamin B6 plays a role in the formation of serotonin, our happy neurotransmitter with decreased levels associated with cognitive decline. B9 and B12 are also important in brain help and play critical roles in the enzymes that metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins helping also to move oxygen around our bodies. These nutrients are always best from food but if you do take a supplement, a B Complex (my fav) is optimal as these nutrients work synergistically.
You can find magnesium in dark leafy greens, almonds, cashews, legumes and yes! Chocolate (plus 70%). B vitamins are also in leafy greens especially B9 but you will need to eat animal products to get a bioavailable form of B12. Seeds, peas and nuts contain b vitamins with decent amounts of B6 in pistachio nuts – yum. Make these foods part of your daily intake4.
It goes without saying that a good exercise and sleep routine really help. Staying well hydrated is essential and for goodness sake, don’t forget the protein! You need between 1.2g-1.6g per kg in bodyweight in menopause. I really like the Rejuy Protein powder for no impurities and a decent extra boost of protein in the morning – you can see it here.
Sometimes, food alone isn’t enough to change symptoms and you may decide to try a supplement. There are so many choices out there so I thought it would be useful to list the ones I use in my clinic here in my supplement shop and if you feel you need extra support to get to the bottom of your symptoms, by all means drop me a line. I’d be more than happy to help.
Bye for now,