Menopause and Blood Sugar – Christiane Northrup, MD
Many women entering menopause accept the fact that they’ll gain weight….kind of an inevitable result of their “metabolism” slowing down.
Well, it turns out that these metabolic changes, though real enough, are NOT necessarily the result of menopause. Instead, these changes are the natural progression of a process that begins much earlier: Glycemic Stress, from blood sugar that is too high.
Eating lots of refined carbs (fries, cookies, white bread, etc.) results in an immediate and substantial increase in blood sugar. This excess sugar is converted to triglycerides in the liver. Additionally, excess blood sugar actually causes inflammation in the lining of blood vessels throughout your body….what is known as glycemic stress.
Excess blood sugar over time eventually leads to insulin resistance. When blood sugar remains high over time, the pancreas secretes large amounts of insulin to process the blood sugar. Then the insulin receptors lose their ability to respond…..and the result is:
Blood sugar is stored as fat!
Glycemic stress and insulin resistance are also associated with insomnia, fatigue, and excess daytime sleepiness. A diet high in refined carbohydrates makes ALL menopausal problems worse because it adversely affects the body’s hormone balance.
So what develops is a kind of “circular reference”: Menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, sleeplessness, etc., are made worse by glycemic stress, which causes you to feel worse even as you’re gaining weight. And we collectively attribute all this to “menopause” and “metabolism.”
This doesn’t have to be so!
Break this cycle by following some common sense steps.
Cut refined carbs. Most menopausal symptoms will respond to a diet that keeps blood sugar and insulin at stable levels.
Get enough sleep. Night sweats and hot flashes are a big culprit here. These symptoms can improve, and the chances for a good night’s sleep likewise improve.
Dr. Carolyn Dean’s Notes:
Magnesium plays a pivotal role in the secretion and function of insulin; without it, diabetes is inevitable. Measurable magnesium deficiency is common in diabetes and in many of its complications, including heart disease, eye damage, high blood pressure, and obesity. When the treatment of diabetes includes magnesium, these problems are prevented or minimized.
Magnesium helps the body digest, absorb, and utilize proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.
Magnesium is necessary for insulin to open cell membranes for glucose.
Magnesium helps prevent obesity genes from expressing themselves. Not all forms of magnesium are easily absorbed by the body. One of the most absorbable forms of magnesium that is safe is magnesium citrate in powder form that can be mixed with hot or cold water and sipped throughout the day.