You’re probably familiar with ketosis, even if you don’t know it by that name. Ketosis is a natural state your body enters when it’s running out of energy from glucose and starts breaking down stored fat for energy. It is typically achieved through a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet such as Keto or intermittent fasting. While the Ketogenic diet has been around for a long time, it’s only recently started to gain popularity as a weight-loss and health-maintenance method.
If you’re a woman going through menopause, you may be wondering how ketosis and menopause are related. Wonder no more! In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of the Keto diet for menopause symptoms and the potential risks of going Keto during menopause. We’ll also share some tips on how to make the transition to a ketogenic diet during menopause as smooth as possible.
What Are Menopause, Perimenopause, and Postmenopause?
Menopause is a natural transition that occurs in women as they age, marked by the end of menstruation and fertility typically in a woman’s late 40s or early 50s. As a woman’s ovaries age and their egg supply diminish, they become less responsive to follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone plays a role in the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and the ovulatory process that occurs monthly. When ovarian function declines, estrogen levels also drop, leading to the cessation of menstruation.
Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause, and the body is in the process of transitioning from its reproductive years to a post-reproductive state.
Postmenopause refers to the period of a woman’s life after menopause, which is defined as the point in time when a woman has not had a menstrual period for at least 12 consecutive months. The intensity of menopausal symptoms like hot flashes may wane or disappear altogether. However, it is important to be aware that postmenopausal women may be more susceptible to developing osteoporosis and heart disease.
Some common symptoms of menopause according to a research include:
- Hot flashes: sudden feelings of warmth that spread over the body and may be accompanied by a red, flushed face and sweating
- Night sweats: hot flashes that occur at night and can cause drenching sweats and disrupted sleep
- Vaginal dryness: a thinning and drying of the vaginal tissues, which can cause discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Mood changes: irritability, anxiety, or depression
- Decreased libido
- Weight gain
- Sleep problems
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
- Decreased muscle mass
Many women turn to hormone therapy to ease the symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. But recent studies have shown that ketosis can be an effective alternative.
Ketosis and Menopause: How Ketogenic Diet Benefits Menopausal Women
So what are some of the benefits of the ketogenic diet for menopause symptoms?
Keto diet can help to regulate blood sugar levels
The ketogenic diet may help to improve insulin sensitivity and balance hormones, which can be beneficial for menopausal women who are at an increased risk of developing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can also cause weight gain and the risk of developing diabetes.
So there was this study in 2005. They took a bunch of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and made them go on the Keto Diet. After 24 weeks, they found that the women had lower insulin levels. The results of this study offer some hope that it can be applied in ketosis and menopause to offer benefits to women in menopausal transition.
The Keto diet is also known to help with weight management.
As many women approach menopause, they may find that they start to put on weight, partly due to a slowdown in their metabolism. The low calorie Ketogenic diet can help to boost metabolism and promote weight loss. When you go Keto, your body has to start using fat as its main source of energy instead of carbs. This can help break down some of the extra fat that’s stored in your body, which may help you lose weight.
Some research has shown that the Keto diet might be especially helpful for women going through menopause. For example, one study found that, after 12 weeks, women with ovarian or endometrial cancer who followed a Keto diet had significant reductions in body weight, body fat percentage, and abdominal fat compared to a group of women following a low-fat diet.
So, if you’re a menopausal woman considering the Keto diet, know that there is some evidence to suggest that it could be beneficial for you.
Keto Diet can Curb your Cravings
If you’re a woman in the menopause cycle, you might be noticing that you’re hungrier than usual. That’s because during this time, your body has higher levels of ghrelin, which is commonly referred to as the “hunger hormone.” Unfortunately, this can often lead to overeating, extra calories, and eventually postmenopausal weight gain.
Studies have shown that low carb diet such as ketogenic diet help to suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin, which can help with weight loss. According to a 2013 study, when individuals were in a state of ketosis, the hormone ghrelin, which is known to stimulate appetite, saw a suppression in its weight loss-related increase. The participants in the study experienced a 13% reduction in their initial weight after only 8 weeks of following the research. This is a good indication low-carb diets can help in ketosis and menopause to curb cravings.
Keto Diet Can Alleviate Hot flashes, night sweats and Mood changes caused by Inflammation
According to a 2015 study, the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate, which is produced during the ketogenic diet, may be able to block the NLRP3 inflammasome, a key player in the development of inflammatory diseases. By inhibiting the NLRP3 inflammasome, β-hydroxybutyrate may help to reduce chronic inflammation and alleviate menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, brain fog, and mood changes.
Inflammation is a normal immune response to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can contribute to a range of health issues.”
Potential Risks of Keto Diet for Menopausal Women
While the ketogenic diet may offer some benefits for menopausal women, it can also cause a set of symptoms known as the keto flu, which occurs as the body adapts to burning fat for fuel rather than sugar. These symptoms, which can include fatigue, hair loss, sleep problems, and mood changes, may be exacerbated during menopause. The Keto flu is a temporary condition that typically goes away after a few days or weeks, but it’s important to be aware of the potential for these symptoms to occur.”
Difficulty sticking to the diet
The ketogenic diet can be challenging to follow, especially if you’re used to eating a diet that is high in carbohydrates. It may be difficult to stick to the diet long-term, which can make it hard to achieve and maintain the desired results.
For menopausal women, difficulty sticking to the ketogenic diet can make it difficult to manage the symptoms associated with menopause. For example, if the diet is not providing enough nutrients, it can contribute to symptoms such as fatigue, mood changes, and bone loss. And if the diet is not helping to regulate blood sugar levels, it can increase the risk of developing conditions such as diabetes.
The ketogenic diet can increase the risk of dehydration, especially if you’re not getting enough fluids. Dehydration can cause many symptoms, including fatigue, dizziness, and muscle cramps.
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate diet, which can make it difficult to get enough of certain nutrients, including fiber and certain vitamins and minerals. This is according to a 2019 study. In menopausal women, nutrient deficiencies can exacerbate some of the symptoms associated with menopause, such as fatigue, mood changes, and bone loss.
Ketosis and menopause can cause a deficiency in calcium and vitamin D which can contribute to the development of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by low bone density. A deficiency in iron can cause fatigue and anemia. And a deficiency in B vitamins can contribute to mood changes and brain fog.
Tips for Going Keto During Menopause
Alright, so you’ve decided to try Keto during menopause. Congratulations! Now, here are some tips to help you get started.
First, focus on consuming high-quality, unprocessed foods – like pasture-raised eggs, wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, and organic vegetables – as much as possible. Not only will this help improve your overall health, but it will also help maximize the benefits of the Keto diet. Eating unhealthy saturated fat from grain-fed animals can worsen your health conditions.
Second, be sure to exercise regularly, taking advantage of activities that promote flexibility and strength. Yoga and tai chi are both great forms of exercise that have a calming effect on the mind and body.
Next, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Try to drink eight glasses of water each day to help your body perform at its best. And if you’re feeling particularly sluggish or foggy due to menopausal symptoms, drinking bone broth can also be beneficial in boosting your energy levels.
Finally, make sure that you’re getting enough sleep – ideally seven or eight hours per night. Getting enough sleep helps ensure your body can stay in a state of ketosis and process all the dietary changes you’ve made more efficiently.
Supplements to Consider While on a Keto Diet During Menopause
It’s no secret that the Keto diet can be taxing on your body, so it’s important to consider taking mineral and vitamin supplements while on the Keto diet during menopause. Here are some supplements to consider:
Magnesium: Magnesium helps improve sleep, which is one of the main struggles women face during menopause. It also helps with fatigue and cramping.
Fish oil: Fish oil helps with keeping inflammation down, which is especially important for menopausal women who are likely dealing with joint aches and pains. It may also help reduce hot flashes.
Probiotic: During menopause, hormones are fluctuating which can cause digestive problems. Taking a probiotic can help keep your gut health in balance, which is essential for overall wellbeing.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for immune health and bone health, both of which can be affected during menopause due to hormone changes.
Winding Down: Celebrating the Transition
So you’ve learned more about the science behind menopause and the benefits of ketosis during this time. Now it’s time to wind down and focus on how you can celebrate this transition.
It’s easy to get caught up in the challenges of menopause, but try to remember that it is a natural step in life and can be an opportunity for growth. There are plenty of activities that can help you honor this special time, such as yoga, meditation, journaling, and creative projects.
Also, don’t forget to reward yourself. After everything you’ve accomplished and all the changes you’ve made to your lifestyle, it’s ok to take some time off every now and then (or more often!) to celebrate your accomplishments.
Whether it’s a massage appointment or just a few hours away from your regular routine, take a break from your hard work and relax. You deserve it!
So, if you’re a menopausal woman looking for relief from your symptoms, ketosis may just be the answer. But it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with Ketosis and menopause. Thus it’s important to listen to your body and be mindful of any potential risks. And of course, it’s always important to consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or health regimen.
But with a little bit of planning and caution, the Keto diet can be a powerful weapon in the fight against menopause symptoms. So give it a try—your body will thank you for it!