The liver is incredible. Most people think of it as a filter, but filters are physical barriers that accumulate junk and have to be cleaned. The liver isn’t a filter. It’s a chemical processing plant. Rather than sit there, passively receiving, filtering out, and storing undesirable compounds, the liver encounters toxic chemicals and attempts to metabolize them into less-toxic metabolites that we can handle.
It oxidizes the toxins, preparing them for further modification
It converts the toxins to a less-toxic, water-soluble version that’s easier to excrete
It excretes the toxins through feces or urine
Bam. It’s an elegant process, provided everything is working well back there. And it’s not the only process it controls.
Perimenopause and menopause comes with a complex web of physical, psychological, and social symptoms.
The treatment usually prescribed by doctors, hormone therapy (HT), is controversial and not appropriate for some women. I won’t get into the HT debate here—Mark did a great job covering the pros and cons recently. Suffice it to say that HT isn’t the answer for everyone, and it’s not a panacea by any means.
Whether or not they choose to go the HT route, many women desire additional support during perimenopause and beyond. For the sake of keeping this post from becoming a novella, I’m going to focus on mind-body therapies today.
Humans are inherently social creatures. We know this. Looking at our species through an evolutionary lens, we tend to talk about our need for social connection as it relates to survival. Our ancestors needed to work in teams to hunt, collect water and firewood, build shelters, rear young, keep watch for predators, and all the other business of staying alive. While that’s undoubtedly true, our need for affiliation runs much deeper than those practical concerns. Our health and well-being quite literally depend on having strong social bonds with others.
Even when our survival is assured thanks to safe housing, easy access to clean water and plentiful food, medical care, and financial security, lonely or socially isolated individuals are likely to die sooner. On the flip side, a robust social support network is associated with better physical and mental health outcomes and longer lives.
Friends, it turns out, have a profound impact on health and longevity. Of course, it’s not just about the number of years we have but how we spend them, and good friends also make our lives more enjoyable in countless ways.
For many women, menopause can introduce new health challenges. In addition to the symptoms that perturb basic quality of life like hot flashes, headaches, night sweats, and irritability, menopause is also associated with higher risks for serious health concerns like osteoporosis, cognitive decline, and metabolic syndrome. This has made the standard treatment for menopause—hormone replacement therapy, or HRT—a multi-billion dollar business.
A few weeks ago, I explored the benefits and risks of HRT. It has its merits certainly, but it’s not for everyone. Today’s post is for those people who want to try something else. Say you’ve waded through the morass of HRT research and would prefer a different route. Or maybe you’ve actually tried conventional or bioidentical HRT and found it just didn’t work for you. Whatever the reason, you’re probably interested in using “natural” products if you can swing it and if it’ll actually help.
From time to time, my wife Carrie pops in to answer questions from readers requesting a Primal woman’s perspective. Today, we’re updating a post she a while back regarding hot flashes and menopause. This topic continues to generate a lot of interest, so we wanted to ensure that the info here is up to date. Enjoy!
Hi, everyone! Thanks for the opportunity to offer my perspective on living Primal. I love this community and always enjoy contributing!
If you look at a human being, we shouldn’t be able to balance on our feet, let alone run and jump and dance and lift. Look at other bipeds and they have fail safes built in to prevent them from falling. Kangaroos have those enormous feet. Chickens have a super low center of gravity keeping them weighted down and stable. Apes, our closest relatives, can manage awkward bipedalism for a few strides but always default to all fours. Humans somehow walk around completely upright and manage to avoid falling over despite stacking our entire bodies on top of relatively small feet.
We’re always on the brink of falling over, of teetering to one side or the other. When we walk, we are doing controlled falling. When we jump, we must land. And we do fall, we do become misaligned. Our sense of balance is precarious and can fail. After all…