Functional Medicine Tips for Perimenopause
I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual School of Applied Functional Medicine retreat outside of Austin, TX.
This retreat offered 3 days of time to relax, recharge, learn, and get very cozy with the Texas bluebonnets.
This week, I want to share some of the nuggets I came away with that I guarantee you’ll never hear from your doctor. And they’re super important as you navigate the waters of perimenopause and menopause.
Let’s start with hormone-related pearls:
- ***Your adrenals need LOVE before going through perimenopause and menopause. Why? Because they pick up the slack on hormone production after your ovaries retire. If they are in poor shape before menopause, you’ll have a tougher time in menopause.
- Estrogen regulates tryptophan hydroxylase, which lowers serotonin. If you have low estrogen levels, you may have lower serotonin levels which can affect mood and digestion, cause anxiety, and create sleep problems.
- Poor thyroid function may cause loss of your menstrual cycle.
- Low DHEA can cause immune problems (more frequent infections), cause low mood and energy.
- Low melatonin correlates with poor progesterone response (40-50 is the ideal level of melatonin). The skin and gut largely produce melatonin…so poor gut health may mean lower levels.
- Estriol in large doses (8 mg) is anti-inflammatory.
- Some women have a tendency to turn their testosterone into estrogen. Melatonin and grapeseed extract can prevent this conversion.
- Your estrogen and progesterone receptors can become clogged with all kinds of environmental pollutants. If they are blocked, your hormones can’t do their jobs. Cortisol will block all receptors, so stress management is also very important!
- High morning cortisol, followed by a big drop, is a tip-off for poor gut health.
- We often forget about testosterone in any context other than libido issues. But here’s the deal: it is super important for bone and muscle health, stamina, drive, and supporting the gut immune system.
And when it comes to food:
- Artificial sweeteners break down into nasty stuff. Let’s take aspartame. It breaks down into aspartic acid (causes anxiety), phenylalanine, and methanol (an alcohol).
- Diet Mountain Dew has not one but THREE artificial sweeteners. Yuck!
- Make sure you wash strawberries well…they contain the most pesticides of ANY produce.
And last but not least…a few nuggets about Long COVID:
- COVID uncovers the whole iceberg of your health. If you’re struggling with things like high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, or autoimmune issues, the virus will blow the lid right off.
- COVID can cause autonomic dysfunction. This appears as dizziness and fainting upon standing up, orthostatic hypotension, an inability to alter heart rate with exercise, or exercise intolerance and sweating abnormalities, which could alternate between sweating too much and not sweating enough. This is due to cortisol dysregulation and inflammation.
- COVID causes mitochondrial dysfunction that can manifest as brain fog, muscle weakness and pain, memory loss, and so much more. Function needs to be supported until the body has recovered from the damage.
- Other common problems after COVID include anxiety, hair loss, nutrient malabsorption, nerve inflammation, and oxidative damage.
- Healing doesn’t begin until the active infection resolves…so if you leap out of bed to go straight back to work, you may find yourself taking one step forward and 2 back. You need time and the right support.
My team can help you with all of these issues, so let’s talk if you need help. We offer help with hormones, gut health, and overall women’s health in a customized plan just for you!
Dr. Anna Garrett is a menopause expert and Doctor of Pharmacy. She helps women who are struggling with symptoms of perimenopause and menopause find natural hormone-balancing solutions so they can rock their mojo through midlife and beyond. Dr. Anna is the author of Perimenopause: The Savvy Sister’s Guide to Hormone Harmony. Order your copy at www.perimenopausebook.com.
Also, she offers a membership group, Hormone Harmony with Dr. Anna Garrett, which provides women in midlife with affordable expert guidance and community support.
Dr. Anna is available for 1-1 consultation. Find out more at www.drannagarrett.com/lets-