The Liver is a Key Player

During the menopausal transition, the brain is switching fuel - from glucose to ketones. Where do ketones come from? They are naturally produced in the liver, when the supply of sugar is low - for example when you are asleep, when you are fasting or you are on a low carbohydrate diet.

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 mentioned earlier. And if hot flushes weren't quite enough, they are now seen as a signpost for dementia in later life.

On a low carbohydrate diet, 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.

But it's not just the brain that is becoming glucose resistant and switching to using ketones for fuel - the body is too.