When I found this out I went W.O.W and it opened my eyes to a new possibility...
Just how many menopause symptoms are related to nutritional depletion in your body?
This gets my chinese medicine juices flowing (I know - weird!) but it's why I'm so good at helping you resolve your symptoms! If you are missing critical nutrients in your body at this time of hormonal change does adding them back in relieve your symptoms?
And the answer I researched and tested with clients is YES!
So which supplement is it that is accountable for up to 1/3 of menopausal symptoms?
Omega 3 and 6 - known as Essential Fatty Acids.
What are Essential Fatty Acids and how do they help?
Omega 3’s, Omega 6’s , you can get them from fish, and you can get them from nuts and berries; but just why are these fat’s so good for us, what’s acid got to do with it and what is the best way to get them in our diets. Thinking back to when we were hunter gatherers it makes sense that our essential nutrients came from these natural food sources.
These fatty acids are nutrients what we need to survive and thrive on, but we can’t synthesize them in our body, so we have to outsource them. When these were found in the 1920s they were thought to be vitamins and labelled Vitamin F, but were later recatergorised as fats.
They’re ‘fatty’ but not the fuel creating fats, they’re good fat, known as ‘unsaturated fats’, they’re required for the proper structure and function of every cell in the body, and are important for optimal health. They increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals; nourish the skin, hair and nails; promote proper nerve functioning; help produce hormones; ensure normal growth and development; and prevent and treat disease.
Remember when your parents used to take Cod Liver Oil? My dad took it straight off the spoon – Yuck! We've come some way with supplements since then thank heavens!
This is what they were taking – the EFA’s. Nowadays we know them as Omega’s 3 &6 as their real names are long, and quite unpronounceable but you’ll see anacronyms like EPA, GLA, DHA.
The main one’s to look out for are these 2 essentials :
LA – Linoleic acid – Omega 6 - mainly from vegetable oils, but not too much is needed; as excess can cause inflammation. You may already have an Omega 6 rich diet if you eat poultry and eggs, sunflower/ pumpkin seeds (also a source of Vit E and Magnesium) and wheat germ.
ALA – Alpha Linoleic Acid – Omega 3 - Found in flax and chia seeds, some nuts, green leafy veg and wheat germ.
Then specifically for stress and menopause:
GLA – Omega 6 - Evening Primrose & Starflower (Borage) - These two you can’t get from your diet so you'll need to add a supplement in. These are beneficial in Women’s Health supplements, for easing PMS, Breast pain, and brain fog. Starflower oil has found to be a more potent source than the traditional Evening Primrose.
EPA / DHA – Omega 3 - fatty fish oils like salmon, mackerel, tuna and the classic cod liver oil. Great for skin conditions, and all neural and brain functions; basically this is the one to take to avoid dementia, heart disease, joint pains and a host of health conditions which hit during the perimenopause and beyond.
What are Omega oils good for?
You name it and they have a hand in it, as they’re an acid they’re at the start of the chain reactions in most functions within the body, shown to reduce heart disease. As a powerful anti-inflammatory, relieve arthritis and joint conditions, as well as keeps your immune system in check. Eczema, skin disorders, mental health issues, potentially Diabetes, asthma, allergies, hypertension, all can be alleviated if we have the right amount of EFA’s in our system. Menopausal women tend to lack in EFA’s too, maybe contributing to the brain fog, joint pains, breast pain and could be the root cause of so many other symptoms.
So those peri/menopausal symptoms that EFAs have a hand in are:
• Dry skin, lifeless hair, brittle/ cracking nails, dry eyes
• Fatigue, depression, lack of motivation, brain fog
• Aching joints, breast pain, difficulty in losing weight
That's quite a list that can be combatted by taking Omega oils!
Healthy Ratio of Omega Oils
Our diets are relatively rich in Omega 6’s EFA’s as we can get this from eggs, plant based oils, poultry and grains; in fact we can get too much of the Linoleic acids in food. The one exception is the GLA (evening primrose, starflower); so that is why it's a supplement.
The Omega 3’s are more from the cold water fish and we consume less of these and so this is the group that you should be supplementing more in. With new research coming out all the time showing that cultures rich in 3’s diet have less dementia, depression, ADHD and bipolar disorders this really maybe evidence that we’re in a culture that is suffering from Omega 3 deficiency.
Fish oils have come along way since Cod liver oil, in fact this is the one you shouldn't have now. Cod livers are heavily polluted nowadays so creators have looked to finding purer sources of fish oil, krill oil and for vegans its extractedfrom algae.
If you start to take these in earnest then they can upset your stomach and your bowels at first, so consume in smaller doses and take with food until your system becomes used to the additional dose.
It’s a balancing act between your 6’s and 3’s, but we generally need more of an Omega 3, for example swop your sunflower oil (6) to rapeseed oil (3)!
If you don’t eat good oily fish at least twice a week (Herring, mackerel, salmon, tuna) look to taking a Omega 3 supplement. On average in Europe we have 20-40mg a day of Omega 3’s when the recommended daily dose is 100-130mg – so we’re getting less than 30% of what we need.
The likelihood is you need an Omega supplement that includes EPA, DHA, and GLA!
Need help getting started?
Supplements are a minefield, are you getting the right quality or the right dose?
I spent 4 years trying different companies and found the best one at sensible prices - Cytoplan, I've created an option of two supplement guides here
Need inspiration to have a better menopause?
Get a free download of my book: Inspiring Menopause - The secrets to a happy, healthy symptom free menopause here
Understanding Your Menopause is available in paperback or you can get a download too. This easy to read book explains very simply what is going on at this confusing time of change and steps you through change to make to relieve stubborn symptoms. I've taken many clients through this process and it works!
Read more here
I offer an extensive self help area but there are many women that have more needs or require support and advice and I offer one to one options too. If you're local then Shiatsu for Menopause is a combination of supplements and therapy to kick start amazing changes. If you're further afield I offer an indepth consultation and create you a plan of action. Read more here.
Andrea is a shiatsu and chinese medicine practitioner who uses the principles of chinese medicine in a completely practical way to help you resolve your symptoms naturally and effectively. If you live locally you can book in for wonderfully relaxing Shiatsu for Menopause, otherwise Andrea does online indepth consultations where you'll leave with an actionable plan to follow. Andrea is also passionate about doing workplace talks.
KNOWLEDGE . PAUSE . FLOURISH