Periods, fatigue, and nutrition
I can hear the collective sigh of MDA posters everywhere. "Ugh, another period thread??" Sorry guys.
Sooo...I'm dealing with a bit of post-period fatigue. I won't go into details, just basically that as my flow is winding down, my energy levels go way down. It's not just "meh, i don't feel like doing anything," it's really sort of suffocating fatigue. Normally, i'm pretty energetic, get by on very little sleep, and skip around the house until midnight. But during this specific period, just getting up to pee is arduous. Anyway, for many reasons i don't think iron is the issue. Before I throw my hands in the air and decide to just be lazy for around a week every cycle, I'm wondering if there are other nutritional factors that i could look into which would be exacerbated by extended bleeding and cured by specific food consumption. Any ideas?
Also, shortly after this period I have a few days of very dark moods. Even though i *know* that it will only last a few days, I still manage to convince myself into hopelessness. Stupid fracking mood swings. There's the obvious suggestion of just reminding myself that it's only a few days, and soliciting extra hugs from people around me. Other than that, any nutritional or lifestyle ideas that could help me out?
I find it helpful to eat liver for the high nutrition content, oysters for their zinc and iron, and drink coconut water to replace electrolytes. Extra magnesium supplements, too. I struggle with my periods and PMS and would like to hear other's thought, too.
My suggetions may or may not be helpful, since depression and fatigue have so many causes, what helps one person may do jack for another. That being said, here are a variety of things I've tried/am trying:
Can be due to low ATP (energy) conversion in the mitochondria. If this is the cause, taking d-Ribose can help.
Can be due to poor sleep quality. Taking cold showers/baths before bed can help have deeper, more restful sleep.
Can be due to low levels of dopamine. Taking phenylalanine and tyrosine (precursors for dopamine) can help.
SAM-E can help.
Stablon, a fast-acting antidepressant completely unlike SSRIs can help (available from online pharmacies without a rx)
***Both issues can be helped by taking pregnenolone, the 'mother' of all hormones, theoretically helps the body to correct hormonal imbalances. I suggest lots of research on this one, there's some conflicting info on dosing. Personally, I noticed that taking a high dose for a brief period helped to counteract my chronic fatigue.
Also, I've just been recently getting into ice baths and cold showers. A few days ago, at the first sign of my period when I started to get cramp twinges, I sat in an ice bath for 45 minutes. I never ended up getting cramps, which I usually would on the first day. i continued to take cold baths the next few days, and my bloating and flow were significantly less that usual, which makes sense since menstruation is an inflammatory process (from what I've read), and cold temperatures negate inflammation. Just something to keep in mind, if you're interested.
Last edited by BestBetter; 06-16-2012 at 03:16 PM.
good idea healthy. i love smoked oysters but can't justify the cost on a regular basis. maybe i should keep it around for TOM. also liver, i could probably get myself to eat maybe twice weekly. i'm going to try liver poppers (pineapple and liver chunks wrapped in bacon and baked).
bestbetter- i appreciate the advice, but the last thing i want to do is mess with OTC depression meds or neurotransmitter precursors outside of the balancing factors of the other nutrients found in those foods. my sleepiness has not much to do with my body and more to do with lifestyle factors (single mom of 3 kids, one is a toddler still nursing at night, and i can't study at night until they're all asleep). this too shall pass.
interesting about the ice baths. i can stop my cramps through massaging my glutes and drinking lots of water. it's just something that i need to do regularly for the first few days.
I know exactly what you mean, but I tend to feel that way from start to finish, which is many days. If your iron intake is solid, I'd consider an electrolyte imbalance. We lose a ton, especially if her visit is heavy. Add potassium- and magnesium-rich foods in and be generous with pink Himalayan salt or salt with trace minerals. A freshly squeezed juice with carrot, apple, and celery has complete electrolyte balance, and coconut water, especially Zico dark chocolate is very rich in potassium and tastes like Yoo-Hoo.
Epsom salt baths are a great way to absorb magnesium, once she leaves of course.
I wish I had something constructive to add. Sorry. But those poppers sound yummy. What temp do you bake them and for how long?
Originally Posted by Saoirse
Momma's Liver Roll-ups from the Meat Club Cookbook
2 lbs beef livers, cut up into 1" pieces
one 32-oz can pineapple chunks, drained
1 lb. bacon strips, halved
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Take one piece of liver and place it next to a chunk of pineapple on the end of a strip of bacon. roll up and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining liver, pineapple, and bacon, placing the roll-ups on the baking sheet at least 1 inch apart.
3. Back for 20 min or so until the bacon is cooked and slightly crispy. Place a toothpick in the center of each and serve.
hmm...electrolytes? i should up my greens intake again. i was solid for a while, but became lazy about it.
Thank you for the recipe, Saoirse!
I got into my health research when my partner was diagnosed with Graves disease (autoimmune hyperthyroid) and have looked into just about every aspect of Womens health.
My view is that if she is healthy and happy, my quality of life is much improved.
Regarding the OP, there are two critical nutritional points in the Menstral Cycle, Mensus & Ovulation, without any specific day counts between I would assume these are the two points when you feel your symptoms, fatigue etc. at Mensus as you mentioned & mood swings most likely at or just before ovulation.
For the first one the Fatigue towards the end of Mensus, if you are not feeling significant discomfort from cramping then it is likely this is a muscle nutrient related issue, my guess is that it is in the energy supply chain to the muscles, most of the time you are fine, but when the Uterus gets into it's kneading process to discard the old lining this is draining a particular muscle nutrient from your body, hence it is reflected as fatigue in the rest of your muscles because your Uterus is hogging this nutrient. I would suggest you look into Acetyl L Carnitine & possibly CoEnzyme Q10, they go hand in hand, transporting fatty acids across the cell membrane and the into the Mitochondria, do a google to with "muscle fatigue" and each of the two supplements, they normally come from meat, but levels may be reduced by disease, medication, stress or other factors. If you try them and they work for you, then you may want to look at ongoing supplementation for a couple of months to get your levels up.
The other one sounds like what my partner, or should I say I experienced, moody, irratable, short, etc. etc. We couldn't continue like that, 4 days incapable of having a reasonable discussion, then 3 days appologising for her behaviour, so I thought about this one for a while and then like a hammer it hit me. Most Women do their iron supplementation during Mensus because that's when they lose blood, but the fact is that this blood was segregated from their normal blood supply two weeks before, so the rest of their body is not really feeling this loss. After Mensus finishes it is the Folicular period which has the greatest nutrient impact on the body, when the new lining in the Uterus is being built up in preparation for the potential fertalization, this accelerates in the days just before ovulation when the lining is engorged with blood and body temp rises as well. It is this period that I linked to the mood swings, there is a maximum nutritional demand by the Uterus and just like anyone else when you are famished and want food and someone asks a silly question you just want to stab them in the eye and get them out of your way. So I thought what about doing the Iron (& protein) at this point, just before ovulation. I made her a big juicy steak, with spinach as well and a dash of Iron water (Spatone) with orange Juice, citric acid helps with iron absorption, she finished it and later in the evening she cautiously said she felt better, it seemed to help her a lot We kept that ritual up for 2 - 3 days every time she felt she was getting a little ratty, we still do it, but have lapsed a bit, I think her nutrient stores have much better buffer now. So maybe try that type of Iron/Protein boost when you get to that point in your cycle, I haven't had the opportunity to test hypothesis on other women, they think I'm a bit weird probably.
As for the whole exercise thing, I personally think women should go with their bodies, you don't need to prove anything to anyone irrespective of what the marketing guys say, you don't need to surf the biggest wave when "you are bleeding like a stuck pig", I read an interesting indigenous North American poem linking the Menstral cycle with the moon, which kind of went along the lines of: As the moon grows she goes out and starts new things, when the moon is full (ovulation) she is at her greatest strengths (probably a man thing, but I imagine she is out hunting for blood under a full moon to feed her hunger), as the moon subsides she brings things to their conclusions, then when the moon is gone (Mensus) she retreates to the darkness & warmth and reflects on things transpired and emerges with new beginnings with the new moon.
Words to that effect anyway, I think we should all try to link back into our natural cycles & circadian rythms, so to ease back at some points in your cycle is not an admission of defeat, it is an enhancement of your body and it's needs.
That's my take on it anyway.
Last edited by Omni; 06-17-2012 at 02:07 AM.
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