Ease Past Menopause Naturally
- Heart Disease
- Breast Cancer
- How Can Turmeric Help?
- Specific Turmeric Compounds
- Clinical Effects
Menopause is normally a natural phase in a woman's life when the ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone. Typically spanning a period of years sometime between the ages of 45 and 55, menopause also marks declining fertility. (x.23)
Symptoms of Menopause
As ovarian estrogen production slows to a stop, menstruation eventually stops too. Before menstrual periods ends completely they may become irregular. But this is not the only physical sign of menopause and lower estrogen levels. Other symptoms of menopause and post-menopause can include: (x.22-24, 85)
Did you know menopause could be the cause of your insomnia? Try drinking a cup of hot milk mixed with a bit of dried cardamom, ginger, and turmeric right before bedtime. Ayurvedic experts suggest it promotes sound sleep. (x.80)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry eyes
- Hair loss
- Hot flashes
- Low libido
- Mood changes
- Night sweats
- Sore breasts
- Urinary tract infections
- Vaginal changes
- Weight gain
Menopause and Heart Disease
Menopause and the phase of life after menopause are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Many physiological markers that contribute to different cardiovascular conditions are found in menopausal women, including: (x.14, 23)
- ↑ Angiotensin receptors, which constrict blood vessels and contribute to atherosclerosis. (x.23)
- ↑ Blood pressure. (x.24)
- ↑ Body weight and belly fat. (x.22)
- ↑ Cholesterol levels. (x.86)
- ↑ Inflammatory cytokine proteins. (x.23)
- ↑ Oxidative stress. (x.23)
- ↓ Antioxidants. (x.23)
- ↓ Nitric oxide, a natural vasodilator in the body. (x.23)
Some of the factors that may explain this increased risk are also linked to the reduced estrogen production. Loss of estrogen increases fatty acid levels, which increases susceptibility to metabolic syndrome (including insulin resistance). Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing other conditions within the syndrome, including heart disease. (x.14, 23, 86)
Menopause and Osteoporosis
Menopause increases the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by loss of bone mineral density. Normally, bones constantly turn over their cells. This process carefully regulates the activity of osteoclast bone cells that break down bone. (x.23)
Changes at the cellular level during menopause can detrimentally affect bone activity. For example, studies show the following contribute to the development and progression of osteoporosis: (x.23)
- Estrogen levels: Estrogen helps protect bone by reducing osteoclasts and their activity. Reduced levels of estrogen in menopause means the loss of that protection.
- Inflammatory proteins: Increased levels of inflammatory cytokine proteins (such as TNF-α) stimulate osteoclast activity.
- Hormonal changes: In addition to estrogen loss, high levels of follicle stimulating hormone during menopause promote higher osteoclast activity and inflammatory protein levels.
Menopause and Breast Cancer
Menopause has been associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, according to some researchers. Studies also suggest that being overweight as an adult increases a woman's risk of breast cancer after menopause. (x.17, 85)
How Can Turmeric Help?
Optimally the adrenal glands should produce enough estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone to keep hormones balanced as ovaries stop producing during menopause. However, factors such as stress, environmental chemicals that behave like estrogen in the body, and unhealthy body weight can all cause hormone imbalances. (x.24)
Research suggests that turmeric and its compounds can help keep hormones balanced in a variety of ways. Turmeric is considered an estrogen agonist. It also helps maintain or improve the ratio of beneficial estrogen metabolites to more reactive forms of estrogen that are linked to disease. This means turmeric can help promote healthy estrogen levels and activity, and help stave off many of the symptoms of menopause associated with loss of estrogen. (x.22)
Menopause Symptom Relief
Turmeric also contains compounds that may relieve menopausal symptoms. For example, did you know turmeric contains both vitamin C and vitamin E? Both vitamins stimulate the adrenal gland to produce hormones and reportedly reduce hot flashes. Vitamin C also has anti-osteoporosis effects. (x.23, 32)
Reduce Risk of Disease
Speaking of osteoporosis and increased risk of disease associated with menopause, turmeric and its compounds could help reduce many of them. For example, studies show that turmeric and its compounds can help maintain heart health and have cancer-fighting effects. (x.14, 86)
Specific Turmeric Compounds that Can Help
Turmeric Form or Compound
What It Does
Turmeric volatile oil
Take Away Point
Topical Herbal Formulas Containing Turmeric
Post-menopausal women may be at greater risk of vaginal infection and vaginitis because of lower estrogen levels. Studies show topical herbal gels and creams relieve symptoms and can cure infection. (x.12, 25)
Turmeric can help relieve the symptoms of and treat vaginitis.
Results of a clinical trial suggest that combining curcumin with moderate exercise could help reduce the increased risk of heart disease after menopause. The study involved 45 postmenopausal women, and was randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled. (x.6, 97)
Curcumin and exercise together had significantly better effects than those women who took the placebo in reducing aortic systolic blood pressure and heart rate. As an added benefit, the women in the study also showed some weight loss! (x.6)
Turmeric's curcumin compounds could help reduce the risks of heart disease and weight gain in woman after menopause.
In a clinical trial in healthy postmenopausal women, a daily dose of the turmeric compound or regular exercise for 8 weeks significantly: (x.98)
32 women participated in the study. They were divided into 3 groups of 10-11 women each, and assigned to either take curcumin or placebo or to engage in aerobic exercise more than 3 days per week. (x.98)
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