The “common” menopause

After reproductive age is over, we are no longer useful in terms of preserving the human species. Except that, of course, as mothers, grandmothers, aunts, etc. we are probably vital to the survival of the human species. We are also the greatest reservoir of wisdom.  Right?

With menopause, our bodies will shut off functions associated with reproduction because they are no longer necessary. Other functions will be affected as well. That’s annoying, to say the least.

Menopause and hormones

Women who have decided not to go for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after menopause may expect slow changes in their bodies, including, for example, loss of bone density. Many women are taken by surprise by the changes they see in their skin and hair. What happened? Our skin and scalp have receptors for estrogen, and when the estrogen levels decrease with menopause, skin and hair age very quickly, because estrogen is not there anymore to pass on messages to the skin and scalp cells.

Skin collagen content, skin thickness and forearm bone mineral content in postmenopausal women show similar declines of between 1-2% per year after menopause. We can’t consider these declines in connective tissue structure and function abnormal, because all women who live to a certain age will eventually experience them. But normal does not mean acceptable. Now that age expectancy has increased by decades, women have the right to be annoyed at this inconvenience that ages us too soon when we are living full and demanding lives. What was good for the cavewoman, who would be eaten by a lion before she turned 40, is not good enough for modern women. At least – not for me.

Estradiol: one of the female hormones that decreases drastically during menopause.

If you are not going to do HRT and you are not ready to see your skin and hair age practically overnight, there are some options. For example, you can go for skin and hair care products that will slow down, and even reverse, aging of skin and hair. Soy isoflavones will help a lot, as will nutrients such as collagen peptides, hyaluronic acid, and various vitamins.

For hair, try Skin Actives Hair Care Serum, it will stop hair loss and give you back some volume; look for apigenin in the ingredient list. We also offer a serum to recover eyelashes and eyebrows. Be careful with the shampoo you use: you don’t need the bubbles, and if the bubbles are there because of sodium lauryl sulfate, the price you will pay will be further hair loss. You can use Sea Kelp Coral as a hair conditioner,  it will make your hair feel “softer” and will also provide nutrition.

For lips, see our Lip Care Kit, full of nutrients that nature denies to the lips of women over fifty. You can also try our Anti-Aging Cream, it contains a bit of everything and it works. This very complex cream contains soy isoflavones and resveratrol, which, among all of their properties, include the increase of phytoestrogenic activity.

The SAS Elixir10 booster is a mix of beneficial botanical extracts that can supply your skin (and scalp) with beneficial chemicals that will bind to the estrogen receptors left vacant by menopause.

Phytoestrogens

Phytoestrogens are plant chemicals that can interact with two of the most important receptors of steroid hormones: the sex hormone-binding globulin and the cytosolic estrogen receptor. The chemical structure of phytoestrogens differs greatly and may seem very different from estradiol, but a part of the molecule is similar enough to human estrogen to fool the receptor.

For those who think that maybe Mother Nature made these chemicals for our benefit, think again: they are part of the plant defense system against fungi. Also, in the 1940s, it was noticed that pastures of red clover, a phytoestrogen-rich plant, had effects on the fecundity of grazing sheep. It is likely that these plants evolved the biochemical pathways required to make these secondary metabolites to disrupt the hormonal balance in their predators, decreasing birth rates in sheep or whatever animal was having them for breakfast.

For our Elixir10, we are using botanical extracts standardized for chemicals with estrogenic properties.  As a bonus, many of these chemicals have other beneficial properties, including antioxidant and anticancer activities, and protection from UV damage.  Please note that the beneficial properties enumerated below are on top of the estrogenic properties.

Elixis 10: Soybean (Glycine max) Genistein, Flax (Linum usitatissimum) Lignans, Wild Yam Diosgenin, Soybean (Glycine max) Daidzein, Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) extract, Luteolin, Resveratrol, Apigenin, Phloretin, Kudzu (Pueraria lobata) Puerarin.

 

  • Kudzu Puerarin. Pueraria is a rejuvenating folk remedy in Thailand, a tradition passed on from generation to generation. The Thai name is White Kwao Krua or Kwao Keur. Besides puerarin, the 8-C-glucoside of daidzein, kudzu contains other phytoestrogens, like miroestrol, deoxymiroestrol, daidzin, genistein, and coumestrol.
  • Genistein and daidzein stimulate the synthesis of hyaluronic acid. Genistein induces collagenation in soft tissue wound healing and inhibits tyrosine kinase.
  • Flax lignans are a class of phytoestrogens with antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties, and their skin strengthening properties will help preven scarring and stretch marks and with  antioxidant and skin strengthening and  cancer-preventing properties. Flaxseed is also used for acne, symptoms of menopause, and breast pain. It is also an anti-inflammatory that helps with eczema, psoriasis.
  • Daidzein activates all three peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) isoforms, a group of nuclear receptor proteins that function as transcription factors regulating the expression of genes, cellular differentiation, development, and metabolism.
  • Luteolin – A flavonoid with great properties: protection against lipid peroxidation  and protease activation  by UV radiation, anti-age, anti-itch, anti-inflammatory. We will soon start selling this active individually.
  • Resveratrol (3,5,4′-trihydroxystilbene) is a polyphenolic antioxidant found in grapes and red wine, blocks UVB-mediated activation of the factor NFkappa-B, and this is the mechanism of protection against photocarcinogenesis.  Plant polyphenols like resveratrol may benefit the skin with anti-inflammatory and wound healing activity through their interaction with growth factor receptors (and the cytoplasmic and nuclear pathways these receptors control) besides direct antioxidant activity.
  • Apigenin is a phenolic flavonoid found in chamomile and many other plants. This antioxidant has anti-inflammatory, chemopreventive activity against skin cancer and prevents UVA and B induced skin cancer. It may also help prevent skin aging by UV through inhibition of metalloproteinases.
  • Apple Phloretin is a nice antioxidant and inhibits elastase activity.  Phloretin has been shown to inhibit proliferation of breast cancer cells.
  • Wild yam diosgenin.

Brincat, M. P.; Baron, Y. Muscat; Galea, R. (2005) “Estrogens and the skin.” Climacteric, 8(2), 110-123

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