Sandra Ishkanes is a Functional Medicine specialist. She takes a whole-body approach to healthcare, combining nutrition, lifestyle and cutting-edge medical testing.
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DRAFT FOR BANNER IMAGE:
"The Menopause is Brilliant and I'm its Biggest Fan"
Said no one ever...
Except for the women who are discovering the truth about the menopause
The menopause is meant to be a time of freedom: freedom from periods and the possibility of child bearing, freedom from hormonal turbulence, and freedom to make new choices and fulfil long-held desires. Yet although menopause is perfectly normal, so many women are suffering through this transition and losing their health.
Hot flushes, night sweats and insomnia
Gaining weight that you can’t seem to lose
Dragging through the day with low energy
Can’t focus and can’t remember things like you used to
Struggling with anxiety or mood swings
Suffering from low sex drive
...can you remember any more?
Understanding the process of the menopausal transition is key to mastering symptoms and
making it the best time of your life.
Declining levels of estrogen is the hallmark of the menopause and although the definition of the menopause focuses on reproduction, the symptoms of the menopause are linked to the brain and the nervous system: Brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, depression, pain and hot flushes.
One of estrogen's jobs in the body is to help transport glucose into the brain, where it's used for energy. As estrogen levels start to drop, the brain becomes deprived of glucose. Being the amazing organism it is, the brain adapts to another energy source rather than starve. This other energy source is ketones. If you eat limited carbohydrates and moderate amounts of protein, Ketones are naturally produced in the liver from your fat reserves while you sleep (or when you fast).
If your liver produces enough ketones, they travel to the brain and are used as energy. If there aren't enough ketones in your brain, it can literally start eating itself: it munches away at your myelin - the covering of fat that insulates and protects the nerves - and converts that into ketones. This is when the nerves can be damaged and the brain loses functionality. This leads to the brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings and hot flushes we talked about earlier. And if hot flushes weren't quite enough, they are now seen as a signpost for dementia in later life. In fact a woman’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease is now greater than her chance of developing breast cancer.
On a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels become very low and it becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is obviously great if you’re trying to lose weight, but the main benefit is that ketones are brain fuel. By giving your brain a unlimited ketogenic supply of energy from your fat stores, you can overcome your menopausal symptoms. It really is that simple.
The crucial part of this process is having a healthy liver that can produce a sufficient amount of ketones everyday. Ageing, an excess of carbohydrates, a fatty liver, drinking excess alcohol, exposure to toxins and infections, and having an impaired digestive system can all prevent the production of ketones. And yes, you guessed it - this makes the menopausal symptoms worse.
As the menopausal transition progresses, the body also becomes less able to use sugar as fuel and and more of it will be converted into fat. The classic apple-shaped figure is associated with an increased risk for:
Your waist/hip ratio is a quick way to gauge your risk. Measure around the fullest part of your buttocks, then measure your waist at the narrowest part of your torso. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. A healthy ratio is less than 0.8, and the ideal is 0.74. A ratio greater than 0.8 is associated with all the health risks listed above.
You can also measure your waist in inches as it directly measures belly fat. If your waist measurement is more than 34.5 inches, there's a strong likelihood that you already have insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
The only other time that the body has a requirement for ketosis occurs in newborn babies and they are fed breast milk which is very high in fat. Babies are born with a fully formed brain but the nerves are naked - they don't have the fatty myelin coating. Myelination of nerves in babies requires ketosis and a range of nutrients which have a parallel with those required in the menopausal transition.
It seems that in menopause, the female brain is rewiring and is actively building up the myelin sheaths around nerves. When carbohydrate intake is high and ketone supplies are low, the brain cannibalises myelin for fuel and loses functionality. Historically, myelin has been thought of as nothing more than insulation but recent research indicates that myelin is far more actively involved in brain activity than previously thought, in that it organises the structure of brain circuits and can regulate the timing of information as it flows through them. Alterations in the thickness of myelin can potentially increase or decrease the synchronicity of brain regions that work together, making them process information more or less efficiently.
Pre-menopause and during the childbearing years, women are built to be sensitive to their environments, their emotions, and the emotions of others, as guardians of children, family and social units. Women's brains differ from men's brains in that their brains have less nerve insulation and this may partly lead to their increased sensitivity and all that that brings. Menopause may be a process that increasingly insulates women from sensitivity to their environment and allows them to gain time for themselves for the decades to come - if they can master their menopause.
The fundamental truth about menopausal symptoms is that they originate in the brain.
The longer you wait to take action, the more your brain function may deteriorate.
Going through the menopause is a critical transition period in a woman’s life and can determine her level of health in the years to come. The Menopausal Mastery Program provides a personalised nutrition, lifestyle and supplement plan that effectively takes care of all aspects of the menopausal transition, and secures vibrant health now and in the future.
The Program includes:
"I have a pre-existing health condition. Can I still join the Menopause Mastery Program?"
Yes. The Program is designed to identify all the pieces of your health puzzle and put them together in a way that enables and healthy vibrant you. You will have a complete health assessment and are likely to experience improvement in all your symptoms as you follow your personal program.
"Who is not a suitable candidate for the Program?"
Unfortunately at this time women with type 1 diabetes, and women who are vegan or vegetarian are not suitable candidates for the Program.
"Will I have to survive on skimpy salads and protein shakes?"
No. The Menopause Mastery Program nutrition plan includes plenty of delicious, hearty foods that you will be excited about eating. The recommended foods are high in healthy fats and include appropriate levels of protein and carbohydrates so meals taste great and keep you full for hours.
"What is the vaginal rejuvenation program?"
The vaginal rejuvenation program is intended for women experiencing vaginal dryness and/or atrophy. The program promotes blood flow to the skin of the vulva and vagina and encourages more skin flexibility and thickness.
"How much time is this going to take?"
You can expect to see positive changes within the first few weeks. Progress to full vibrant health will depend on your current state of health and your desire to learn and implement the Menopause Mastery Program. I will be there to support and guide you throughout, as you progress to a more healthy and vibrant you.
Make an appointment:
Please call the Dolphin House Clinic on 01273 324790 or Sandra on 07817664873 to make your first appointment, in clinic or by video link. You will receive the Menopause Mastery Program pack which will need to be completed and returned prior to your first appointment. You are welcome to call for a complimentary 30 minute consultation.
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