Nutrition Through the Ages Part 4: Menopause and preventing Osteoperosis

Menopause is a major factor for women of a certain age, but this transitional time effects men as well, and is called ‘andropause”.  It is a time of hormone decline, bone loss, and an increased need for vitamin and mineral intake.

To prevent osteoporosis from happening during this time, we must protect our bodies during out youth.  A few factors influence bone loss later in life: genetics, lifestyle, and bone density pre-menoapause.  The  better your bone health, the more bone loss you can withstand when these changes occur.

Exercise is important for many many reasons.  Weight baring exercise in our younger years  strengthens our bones for the latter.  

Calcium:

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) reported that North American diets are deficient in calcium because concentrated dietary source of calcium are limited and the daily recommended intake (DRI) is large. Add to this the fact that absorption of calcium decreases as we age.  “The average postmenopausal woman in the United States or Canada can reasonably be assumed to consume a diet that is approximately 500-mg less
than the recommended 1,200-mg/day80.” Calcium supplementation should be considered to make up the difference between dietary intake and the DRI of 1,200-mg/day. Calcium supplements should reasonably be considered at a minimum of 500-mg/day and not more than 1,200-mg/day. There seems to be no benefit in a total calcium intake of 1,500-mg/day and the upper tolerable limit is 2,500-mg/day.  Calcium carbonate supplement should be taken with food and calcium citrate on an empty stomach. Divided doses are better absorbed. While calcium citrate seems to be absorbed easier, even calcium carbonate has shown benefit for bone health in studies.

from Pintrest

from Pintrest

Milk:

I do not like milk, and while there are numerous campaigns from the dairy industry claiming it “does a body good,” there are also far more truthful (and  less publicized) studies showing that it in fact does the  body HARM.  Calcium absorption can only occur if there is lots of vitamin D as well.  Not only that, but calcium is not the only thing one needs for strong  bones.  Vitamin K, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, boron, phosphorus, zinc and fluoride, along with sufficient protein are all vital.

“Relying on milk to protect your bones could backfire in a very nasty way by thinning them even faster. A 1997 study of results from the ongoing Harvard Nurses’ Health Study showed that the women who had the highest intake of calcium from dairy products actually also had the highest risk of a fracture from thinning bones.1 Other studies have shown that the calcium from milk and other dairy products does not have a protective effect on your bones. 2–4 And a recent study of Chinese men and women, who rarely if ever consume milk or dairy products yet have very little osteoporosis, suggests that drinking tea is a good way to maintain bone health.5 Why? Among other things, tea is a good natural source of fluoride and flavonoids, both of which improve bone density.”  (taken from: http://www.biblelife.org/milk.htm)

It is very important to understand how milk is produced.  To keep the female cow producing milk, and enough of it to keep up with supply, as soon as they have a baby they are artificially inseminated so that they are in a constant state of lactation.  Then, to make sure the milk is enough, they inject them with Bovine Growth Hormone which engorges their udders,  in turn causing infection and putting puss into the milk supply.  To cure the infections they are injected with antibiotics, which also are now in the milk!    Here is a video covering this issue:

There are many other excellent places to get your calcium, such as leafy green vegetables (kale, swiss chard, spinach, broccoli), which all contain other other  vitamins, minerals and antioxidants making the calcium they provide more readily taken in by the body.

Calcium-Rich Herbs: 

  • Alfalfa
  • cayenne
  • chamomile
  • chicory
  • chives
  • cleavers
  • dandelion
  • dill
  • kelp
  • nettle
  • parsley
  • plantain
  • red raspberry
  • rose hip Rosa canina,
  • shepherd’s purse
  • watercress Nasturtium
  • yellow dock

All these herbs are high in calcium and can be included in the diet or used as teas. If they are seeds, such as alfalfa Medicago sativa, you can sprout them.

taken from my course e-text book (property of ACHS)

taken from my course e-text book (property of ACHS)

Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that, among many other things, increases calcium absorption from the digestive tract. Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as being widespread and may be one of the primary factors in the
decrease calcium absorption seen with age.  Vitamin D can be manufactured in the  body but requires sunlight exposure, which may increase your risk for skin cancer.  The use of sunblock to prevent sun damage to the skin will prevent almost all vitamin D production.   Food sources of vitamin D are limited, but include: Shitake and button mushrooms, pine nuts and fatty fish (mackeral, cod, sockeye tuna).  Now a day most milks are fortified with vitamin D, even nut milks and soy milk.  However, 20 minutes a day, with arms, legs and the top of your head exposed to the sun is enough to get your RDA of  vitamin D.  If you live in a cold  climate, or a place with lots of rain (aka Washington), a supplementation is highly advised.

Okay, now on to the bulk of the subject here:

Menopause

Menopause is the natural cessation of menstruation and ovulation, usually between the ages of 40-55. It is sometimes called the “change of life.”   Ideally, it should be a time for celebration, but generally, it is a time of endurance and a need for a great sense of humor about life in general.  It is usually associated with distressing symptoms such as hot flashes, sweating, nervousness, depression, irritability, insomnia, headaches, and stomach upsets.  People who have sustained a diet full of organic whole foods have claimed to have gone through menopause almost system free.  (one of these people being my holistic nutrition professor)  Some naturopaths and doctors believe that menstruation is an opportunity for the body to eliminate toxins from the system.  Once that particular method of  elimination ceases, the body’s other eliminative channels can become overloaded, and symptoms of toxicity can start to appear.

The diet should be high in foods containing vitamin E, with an emphasis on raw and sprouted seeds and organically grown vegetables and fruit.   Avoid all processed foods and excessive quantities of tea, coffee, sugar, and salt,
which only rob the body of minerals and vitamins and accelerate the aging process.

Invest in a juice extractor or a high speed blender and drink a glass of fresh vegetable juice  every day. This can be a combination: Try carrot and beets with parsley and garlic.  An elimination fast can also be helpful.

Herbs and supplements:

There has been extensive research on the role herbs can play in hormone levels in the body. It was thought that herbs could help to supply the sapogenins or starting materials for the body to convert to steroid hormones, such as estrogen.  Saponins, such as the diosgenin in wild yam, have a similar ring structure to steroid hormones. Commercial hormone manufacturers often use these saponins as the starting material for the manufacture of hormones for pharmaceuticals. However, the human body may not have the enzymes necessary to convert these saponins to hormones. Therefore, you cannot say that phytoestrogens raise estrogen levels in the body.  These plant saponins are more likely to act as hormone balancers, by binding directly to hormone receptors and causing a mild response as compared to our own hormones.   The following herbs contain saponins: Black cohosh, dong quai, elder, ginseng, lady’s slipper, licorice, passion flower, sassafras, sarsaparilla, and wild yam.

Taken over several months, the following blend is helpful for balancing hormones.

  • ½-oz goldenseal dried root
  • ½-oz partridge berry dried berry
  • 1-oz motherwort dried herb
  • ½-oz black cohosh dried herb
  • ½-pt water

Mix all four herbs together. As needed, use ½-oz of the herb mixture and prepare a decoction. Simmer the herb in the water until approximately ¼-pint remains. Cool and strain. Take 2-4-T in water three times a day, between
meals. Keep your decoction in the refrigerator for not more than 72 hours.

Herbs and the Adrenal Glands: 
Women who suffer from particularly severe menopausal symptoms may have malfunctioning adrenal glands. The adrenals take over some of the functions of the ovaries and help to lessen the symptoms of menopause.
Parsley is a specific tonic for the adrenals. Try the following  teas:

Menopause Tea #1

  • ½-oz nettle  herb
  • ½-oz cleavers
  • ½-oz parsley
  • ½-oz orange  leaves and flowers
  • ½-oz red raspberry
  • ¼-oz hops
  • ¼-oz senna  leaves

Mix the herbs together and store in a glass container in a dark cool cupboard.  As needed, use 1-t of herb blend to prepare an infusion using 1-cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Prepare as needed. Do not store. You can use up to 3-cups a day between meals.

Menopause Tea #2

  • ½-oz elder flowers
  • ½-oz black cohosh
  • ½-oz motherwort
  • ½-oz partridge berry

Mix the herbs together and store in a glass container in a dark cool cupboard.  As needed, use 1-t of herb blend to prepare an infusion using 1-cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-15 minutes. Prepare as needed. Do not store. You can use up to 3-cups a day between meals.

 

We all get old, and as a woman, I too will go through the “change”.  Just like pregnancy doesn’t begin with  conception and end with birth, menopause and bone loss doesn’t just begin with hormonal  changes and end when it ends.  We need to care for our body at all stages of our lives.  We need to eat good, whole, organic foods, skip the processed crap, white sugars, flours, and additives.  We can age gracefully and happy.  Age is something that should be looked at with respect, and more so to the people that are still thriving, exercising and eating right well into their 40’s, 50’s and beyond.  

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Nutrition Through the Ages Part 4: Menopause and preventing Osteoperosis

  1. Pingback: The Poor Woman’s Hormone Replacement: The Wise Woman Way | lovelyseasonscomeandgo

  2. Pingback: Menopause Symptoms: Gastrointestinal Distress - Treating It Naturally | Mojo Menopause | Symptoms, Remedies, and More

Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think, I love hearing for you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s