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Helping women reconnect with their body and achieve well-being

menopause & insulin resistance

February 2024

 

A Pause For Menopause –

  • Mindset
  • Menopause & Insulin Rsistance
  • Menopause, Stress & Sleep
  • Menopause and Inflammation

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When your body starts to transition into menopause, your progesterone declines first, followed by your estrogen. The shift in reproductive hormones dramatically impacts the entire endocrine system.

 

Menopause and Insulin resistance

I always thought of menopause as a process happening in the reproductive system, but now I know better.

Progesterone and estrogen, the hormones that shift during menopause transition, are, you got it, hormones; therefore, they are part of the endocrine system, too.

Part of menopause is a huge shift in hormones all over the body that is responsible for many of the symptoms that are associated with menopause.

 

Menopause is an endocrine system transition.

menopause insulin resistance

What is insulin?

You might want to think about insulin like a key to a lock.

Glucose is the main source of energy for the cells. But the walls around the cells are closed, and the doors are locked. The key that glucose uses to enter your cells is insulin.

Here is how it goes…

You eat carbohydrates. Carbs meet the carb taste buds in your mouth. They immediately send a message to your brain and gut that says, “Carbs are coming.” The gut secretes enzymes to break down the carbs into “simple sugars” or monosaccharides like glucose and fructose. At the same time, the pancreas anticipates the arrival of glucose, so it releases insulin into the blood. When the glucose is absorbed in the blood, insulin will open the doors of the cells so they can use it for energy production.

 

What is insulin resistance?

Insulin resistance is when the locks in the cell’s walls are rusted from overuse. The insulin is trying to unlock the doors, but they resist it. You end up with more glucose in the blood. The pancreas gets the signal that you have high glucose levels, so it releases more insulin. Now, you have high insulin and high glucose in the blood, which can trigger a vicious cycle.

Estrogen increases the sensitivity of cells to insulin. You might want to think about it like oil that helps the key move more smoothly in the lock. In premenopause, when estrogen levels decline, the body’s resistance to estrogen increases. Many women who didn’t have any insulin resistance or high glucose levels in the past developed insulin resistance during perimenopause.

 

Why is it important?

Insulin resistance increases the production of free fatty acids, the building block of fats. Fat associated with insulin resistance tends to congregate around the waist like a life buoy.

Insulin resistance causes oxidative stress and inflammation in the body that can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. 

 

What can you do?

There are a couple of things you can do to reverse insulin resistance. These strategies become critical in perimenopause and menopause.

 

Exercise – becomes critical in perimenopause and menopause because muscles have a golden key; they can open their doors to sugar without insulin. If you have more muscle tissue and these muscles need more energy because you exercise, your blood sugar and insulin levels will drop.

 

Sleep – This is a tricky one because the hormonal changes that happen in perimenopause steal your sleep. However, sleep is crucial for reducing insulin resistance. Sleep debt is inflammatory, and inflammation increases insulin resistance.

 

Intermittent fasting – helps your body go into mitophagy. Mitophagy is the process in which old and defective mitochondria are removed, replacing them with new, more efficient ones. This allows the body to clean out damaged cells and regenerate healthier ones.

 

Stress management – is vital in premenopause because stress increases glucose levels in the blood. When stressed, the body anticipates a threat to its safety and responds by releasing glucose (energy) to the blood to allow you to “fight or flight.” Chronic stress will cause chronic high glucose in the blood that will eventually lead to insulin resistance. 

That’s a lot to untangle. If you would like guidance on navigating this transformative phase and discovering the optimal ways to support your body, I invite you to a free consultation.

 

Book your free consultation.

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Disclaimer: This document is for educational and informational purposes only and solely as a self-help tool for your own use. I am not providing medical, psychological, or nutrition therapy advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your own medical practitioner. Always seek the advice of your own medical practitioner and/or mental health provider about your specific health situation. You can view my full disclaimer here.

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