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.
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 I could tell my older readers (or younger readers who plan on becoming older readers) one thing to focus on for long-term health, longevity, and wellness, it would be to maintain your bone density. Not eat this food or do that exercise. Not get more sleep. Those are all important, and many of them fall under the rubric of and contribute to better bone density, but “maintain bone density” gets to the heart of aging. Even the importance of muscle strength shown in longevity studies of older people could actually indicate the importance of bone density, since bone density gains accompany muscle strength gains. You can’t gain muscle without gaining bone.
That’s because bones aren’t passive structures. They are organs that respond to stimulus and produce hormones and help regulate our metabolism.
Osteocalcin, a hormone produced by bone-building osteoblasts, communicates directly with fat cells to release a hormone that improves insulin sensitivity. The osteocalcin produced by bones plays a key role in testosterone production and male fertility, helps regulate mood and memory, and even interacts with the brains of developing fetuses. It may also help improve endurance, with studies in mice showing that older mice were able to run almost twice as far after being injected with osteocalcin.
As a devoted fan of skincare, at-home spa treatments, and, most recently, face yoga, I’m always on the lookout for new ways to pamper myself. Thus, I couldn’t help but notice the recent uptick in beauty influencers raving about their Gua Sha stones, jade rollers, and similar facial massage tools. Besides the fact that the tool themselves are quite beautiful, the purported benefits had me intrigued.
Gua Sha facial massages supposedly work by enhancing lymphatic drainage in the face and neck, leading to smoother, clearer skin. The lymphatic system plays a central role in immunity, and it also works to clear waste products from your tissues. In the beauty and wellness industries, Gua Sha is frequently promoted as a way to “detoxify.” That term always gives me pause, especially when the detoxifying service in question costs more than my car payment. Futhermore, Gua Sha comes from traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, and I’m always wary of the American beauty industry co-opting and commodifying traditional practices from other cultures.
At the same time, I do want a well-functioning lymphatic system, and facial massage feels fantastic, so I was motivated to check out this practice for myself. Here’s what I learned.
Male menopause is a real thing, and the medical term for it is andropause. According to the Mayo Clinic, the term “Male Menopause” has been used to describe decreasing testosterone levels related to aging. See this article from Mark back in 2018.
One of the symptoms of male menopause can be erectile dysfunction (ED). Although for younger men, you can have ED without male menopause. ED can destroy a man’s confidence not just in the bedroom but in the larger picture of his life by causing depression, stress, moodiness and anger all things that peak performers do not want to associate with. But for men aged 35-64 these things can sneak up on us, fast.
We are all so busy “performing.” Being a Dad, a good husband, business owner, a hard worker, friend, trying to get your workouts squeezed into an already hectic week. In many cases, this usually leads to a pattern of not not getting enough sleep because of late night emails for work after having put the kids to bed, up early the next day to get right back at your hard charging life, with too little exercise and not enough Primal Nutrition. Which leaves you with high stress. Stress leads to high cortisol (more about cortisol below).
Maybe you had a little too much wine at dinner … it happens. Your wife or lover wants to “play” and so do you, but no response. Once, certainly is nothing to worry about but the definition of ED is “is the recurrent or persistent inability to attain and/or maintain an erection in order for satisfactory sexual performance.” So, what to do?
First, let’s look closer at the leading causes.
When most people worry about getting old, they focus on the obvious degenerative diseases like diabetes and cancer and Alzheimer’s or the catastrophic health emergencies that can occur, like strokes or heart attacks. They think about the melange of medicines they might have to take, the panicked rush to the ER in the dead of night, the slow but unmistakable descent into painful oblivion. But one of the deadliest health conditions afflicting older adults is also one of the most silent and unknown: sarcopenia, or the degeneration and loss of muscle mass and strength. People just don’t think about losing muscle mass and strength as they get older. If they do, they assume it’s just part of the aging process. They figure it’s unavoidable, because, after all, everyone around them just gets weaker and more decrepit as they age. It’s one of those “inevitabilities” that you “just have to accept.” Screw that. Muscle loss is not your destiny. You don’t have to sit there and take it. In fact, sitting there and taking it is the single best way to get sarcopenia; standing up and fighting is the single best way to avoid it. Plus, taking the necessary steps to mitigate or even prevent sarcopenia will help prevent all those other age-related maladies I mentioned in the opening paragraph. Instantly download your Quick Start Guide to a Healthy Gut Health Problems Related to Muscle Atrophy, or Muscle Loss Sarcopenia the specific condition is linked to a number of poor health outcomes: 3.5x higher risk of mortality 3x higher risk of functional decline Greater risk of falls Higher chance of hospitalization Muscle itself is a powerful endocrine organ, emitting hormonal messages that regulate metabolism, inflammation, and overall function. Muscle also provides a metabolic reservoir for support and recovery from physical trauma—injuries, wounds, damage to our tissues. When muscle mass drops to extremely low levels, it means you’re not only more likely to be hospitalized, you’re more likely to never make it out of that hospital bed. Worse still, sarcopenia isn’t just loss of muscle: It’s degradation of the muscle tissue. It’s conversion from fast-twitch Type 2 muscle fibers that can handle heavy loads and high intensity to slow-twitch Type 1 muscle fibers that can only handle lighter loads and lower intensities. It’s the loss of motor units at the muscle itself, forcing the few remaining motor units to pick up the slack and extending recovery times. It’s the loss of cardiac strength, which impairs cardiovascular function and lowers VO2max. It’s the impairment of tendon function, reducing strength and mobility and increasing the risk of injury. Sarcopenia Definition The European Working Group diagnoses sarcopenia if you have two of three conditions: Low muscle mass Low muscle strength Poor physical performance (walking speed, for example) Even if you don’t have full-blown sarcopenia, you may have “pre-sarcopenia.” Millions of people are walking around (or, rather, shuffling around) with lower-than-ideal muscle mass and strength. Today’s post applies to them, too. So whether you’re looking at the … Continue reading “What Is Sarcopenia and How Can You Defeat It?”
You can’t change your genes. But you can program them.
The modern world presents a number of problems for our genes. The world we’ve constructed over the last 50 years is not the environment in which our genetic code evolved. Our genes don’t “expect” historically low magnesium levels in soil, spending all day indoors and all night staring into bright blue lights, earning your keep by sitting on your ass, getting your food delivered to your door, communicating with people primarily through strange scratchings that travel through the air. So when these novel environmental stimuli interact with our genetic code, we get disease and dysfunction.
The genes look bad viewed through a modern prism. They get “associated” with certain devastating health conditions. But really, if you were to restore the dietary, behavioral, and ambient environments under which those genes evolved, those genes wouldn’t look so bad anymore. They might even look great.
This is epigenetics: altering the programming language of your genes without altering the genes themselves.
At this point, intermittent fasting isn’t a new concept, nor is it a difficult one. You take in all of your calories for the day within a limited window of time, and the rest of the day, you stick with water, maybe a cup of coffee, or tea in the morning if you feel so inclined. The idea is that giving your body a period of time “off” from digesting food allows your cells to heal and renew in other ways.
A Practice Born Because Calorie Restriction is Unpleasant
Intermittent fasting became popular because calorie restriction was found to contribute to healthy aging. A few mouse and worm studies seem to show that drastic reductions in food intake over a long period of time could prolong your life.
Hi folks, today’s post comes from my friend Max Lugavere, New York Times best-selling author of Genius Foods and The Genius Life, which will be available for purchase on March 17, 2020. Max is a young guy, but he’s accomplished a lot so far, including an impressive bit of research and writing about longevity and how to age optimally with grace. I know you’ll enjoy Max diving into the weeds a bit about the nutrient sensors, proteins, and catalysts that may help us live long, healthy, thriving lives. This post comes from an excerpt from Max’s newest book The Genius Life.
From now until March 11, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. PST, enter for your chance to win a FREE copy of The Genius Life as well as Primal Kitchen salad dressings and Primal Sun. All you have to do is head over to Instagram, follow @marksdailyapple and @maxlugavere, and tag some friends in the comments of the giveaway post. Three winners will be selected and notified via DM. Good luck, and enjoy the excerpt.
When it comes to slowing down the clock, life extension is indeed possible. The catch? There are two: it involves calorie restriction, and it has only been successfully demonstrated in lab animals. Studying longevity in humans is a bit more challenging. We don’t sleep in labs, we live a lot longer, and we like to eat. (Correction: we love to eat.) So while most of us would happily opt for a 40 percent increase on our life spans like food-deprived lab rats seem to achieve, we need a better route to get there.1
Many people get to age 60 or so and, if they haven’t lived a healthy, active life up to that point, assume it’s too late for them. After all, things only get harder the older you get. You’ve got aches and pains. Your doc is always reminding you about your weight. Things creak and crack. You look wistfully at the gym you pass by every day, thinking to yourself, “It would never work.”
At least, that’s how most people deal with getting old: they lament their “inability” to do anything about it as oblivion approaches and overtakes them.
Forget all that. While you can’t turn back the chronological clock, you can “de-age” yourself by engaging in the right diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications. So—how?