How to hold on to your collagen during the Menopause

Coping with the many symptoms of the menopause could make this hormone transition an unbearable time of life. One aspect of menopause health that you may feel increasingly challenged by is just how quickly your skin starts to age.

Nutritional Therapist Jackie Newson provides an insightful guide on how to preserve collagen so you can glow your way through the menopause.

What is the perimenopause?

Your menopause is likely to occur sometime between the age of 45 and 55, but a small percentage of women can experience early menopause in their mid-thirties. It all begins with the perimenopause, which can start from one to ten years before the menopause, this is when you might notice symptoms creeping in. These gradual changes are due to alterations in levels of two key female hormone, oestrogen and progesterone.

A fascinating fact about your ovaries is that they already contain approximately 2 million eggs at the time when you were born. These eggs are ripened and released with each ovulation, so as you age, your egg supplies are gradually exhausted. Once your ovaries are completely empty of eggs, ovulation stops, and your ovaries start to wind down the production of progesterone and oestrogen. This drop in hormones kicks off those typical symptoms of the perimenopause!

What are the symptoms of the perimenopause?

Oestrogen is a powerful hormone that exerts its activities via oestrogen receptors found on every many tissues in the body (and many more). When oestrogen is out of kilter the effects can be quite noticeable especially in the areas of the body where oestrogen receptors are found, which include:

  • Skin
  • Breast
  • Vagina
  • Womb
  • Urinary tract
  • Bones
  • Bowel
  • Liver
  • Brain
  • Fat cells
  • Blood vessel walls

How does your skin change during the menopause?

If you are struggling with the menopause, then you are not alone. In fact, 25% of women are so overwhelmed by the severity of their symptoms that they seek medical help.1 One of the bugbears for many women is the visible deterioration in skin quality, tone and texture which tends to occur quite rapidly within in the first few months.2 But aside from the obvious differences in skin health on more obviously visual areas of your body such as your face, there may also be noticeable changes in the delicate tissue in the more hidden and intimate areas such as the inner lining of the vagina and urinary tract. This is because within these areas a high concentrations of oestrogen receptors are found.3

Vaginal health during the menopause

Alterations in the fine balance of hormones can affect the mucus membranes of your vagina and vulva lessening the amount of lubrication in these areas. This may lead to uncomfortable dryness, burning, itching and pain. The skin in your vagina is likely to become thinner and may tear more easily, as a result, intercourse could become painful and might cause bleeding, if vaginal lubricants aren’t used.

Why do menopausal women get recurring cystitis?

Changes in hormone levels throughout the menopause mean that the muscles and tissue which provide tone, strength and support to your bladder and urethra may become weak. So the bacteria that cause cystitis, which would normally be washed through the bladder and urethra by fast flowing urine, tend to linger and collect in weakened areas where urine flow is slower and less powerful than usual. Recurrent cystitis is often an irritating feature of menopausal health. In these cases, it is important to consult your doctor.

Beauty sleep and the menopause

In terms of skin quality and appearance, lack of sleep around the menopause could also take its toll, promoting dark shadows under the eyes and impairing skin integrity. Evidence suggests that there may be a link between immune system function and collagen production.4 Sleep deprivation may disrupt the restorative effects on the immune system, which could lower immune responses and this could seem to affect collagen synthesis. Lack of beauty sleep may contribute to a possible break down in skin barrier and mucous membrane function.

Collagen and skin health for mature women

The skin more than any other organ shows the effects of ageing brought about by hormone changes as you make your way through the menopause. Oestrogen and other hormones have a significant influence on your skin’s development and composition5 and adequate levels are needed to help support skin functional and structural integrity. Your skin is composed mainly of collagen, a matrix protein that provides a kind of scaffolding structure that can deteriorate when your female hormone levels start to decline. In fact, around 30% of the collagen in yoru skin is likely to be lost during the first five years following your menopause.6 Once oestrogen start to dwindle, collagen content in the skin is reduced too and you may start to experience increased dryness, decreased firmness, less elasticity and more wrinkles.

What the scientists say about collagen

Early research demonstrates that both age and sex directly impact skin collagen levels affecting skin thickness and skin density.7 Collagen production, especially types I and II are known to decrease with age particularly in women8, so it’s no surprise that after the menopause women start to see rapid changes in the appearance and texture of their skin. Those that choose to receive oestrogen replacement therapy may benefit from collagen support and skin thickness.6

Special cells called fibroblasts that play a key role in the renewal and repair of collagen within the skin. Scientific research also shows that the breakdown of the collagen framework found in the matrix that supports the underlying skin layers, is partly responsible for the loss of structural integrity and the impairment of fibroblast function in the skin.9 Old fibroblasts produce low levels of collagen and high levels of collagen-degrading enzymes. At the same time, the decrease in healthy collagen fibres results in a loss of the mechanical stimulation that is needed to trigger new collagen production.8 The good news is that some scientists are investigating if age-related decreases in collagen synthesis could be partly reversible.

Do-able solutions for menopausal skin

It’s not possible to totally avoid the menopause, but you can, in some cases, minimise difficult symptoms by incorporating some dietary and lifestyle changes. This may help you feel more positive about your menopause experience. In the absence of oestrogen, there are some actions you can take to delay the physical effects of ageing on your skin. The ai is to support your hormone balance, maintain optimal levels of collagen,9 focus on hydration, exercise often and improve your beauty sleep.

5 Easy steps for youthful menopausal skin

1. Reducing stress to support hormone balance

After the menopause your adrenal glands play a role in hormone balance by topping up levels of oestrogen produced by your ovaries. However, these glands also respond to stress. If your adrenals are preoccupied with dealing with stress or are tired and exhausted then your post-menopausal production of adrenal oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone may become compromised.

Progesterone is almost exclusively adrenal in origin following the menopause and this hormone is part of the stress cycle as the adrenals can covert progesterone into the stress hormone cortisol. High stress levels may push progesterone down this pathway rather than using it to produce testosterone and oestrogen. This can be a factor in hormone imbalance at menopause and is a good reason to try and find strategies to keep stress to a minimum.

2. Healthy lifestyle habits for a manageable menopause

Most menopausal women are at an age when juggling a career with family life and children’s educational needs can be exhausting, so coping with unpredictable hormone fluctuations just adds another level of stress. But a few dietary tweaks and some regular exercise can help to make life calmer and more manageable.

Caffeine: It’s a good idea to reduce your daily caffeine by cutting back on tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, and chocolate. Why? Caffeine exacerbates hot flushes and insomnia; it increases the rate at which calcium is lost from the body and puts additional stress on the adrenal glands.
Alcohol: Although it’s tempting to turn to a few glasses of wine at the end of a stressful day, this may just accelerate your menopausal symptoms. Alcohol is known to disrupt sleep, changing both the length and quality and is also a nervous system depressant leading to low mood and anxiety. What’s more, alcohol is thought to enhance inflammatory processes and suppress immune function which may add to the deterioration of skin health.10

Relaxation: Spend at least twenty minutes everyday relaxing. Enjoy the calming benefits of yoga or learn how to meditate. Deep breathing exercises are very simple to do and can aid relaxation and reduce anxiety rapidly.

Get fit: Regular exercise brings many health benefits too not just in terms of reducing stress but also improving cardiovascular health, which will enhance the flow of oxygen and nutrients around the body improving cellular functions and thus hormone balance. An added bonus is that the improved oxygen and nutrient delivery help keep your skin healthy and glowing. What’s more, participating in aerobic exercise has been shown to bring immediate symptom relief amongst menopausal women.11

3. Key nutritional supplements

It’s not always easy to keep your diet balanced, especially when fitting new nourishing foods for your skin healthy into your existing daily meal plan. Including a selection of well-chosen vitamins and minerals help offer support for any troublesome menopausal symptoms you could be experiencing.

Vitamin C: This vitamin is part of the holy grail for healthy glowing skin and goes a long way to helping you achieve it. Vitamin C is known to contribute to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin and blood vessels. Without good blood vessel tone you’re less likely to see that fresh faced blush of youth or gain effective delivery of the key nutrients needed to feed your skin. Liposomal vitamin C is the one you want if you’re looking for rapid absorption, Clinical studies have shown that taking liposomal Altrient C at 3 sachets a day has remarkable benefits with significant increase in elasticity and firmness and significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, including:

  • 40% increase in elasticity and firmness in just 8 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.
  • 61.4% increase is elasticity and firmness within 16 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.
  • 8% reduction in fine lines and wrinkles in just 8 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.
  • 13% reduction in fine lines and wrinkles within 16 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.

These results demonstrate the key nutritional support for visibly ageing skin that liposomal Altrient C offers. Alternatively, a high-quality powdered vitamin C, such as Total C, is another beneficial option which allows you to customise your daily dose.

Collagen: Topping up on hydrolysed collagen peptides can be a game changer for women trying to keep their skin looking and feeling radiant and youthful. Collagen levels naturally start to decline from the age of 30 onwards, hydrolysed collagen peptides are ideal because they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream helping to replenish collagen reserves. A daily dose of collagen teamed up with vitamin C is the perfect combination for supporting glowing, flexible skin.

B vitamins: if vaginal dryness is making your life miserable, stocking up on a good liposomal vitamin B complex is a sensible choice. Niacin, vitamin B2 and biotin all contribute to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes and normal skin. Choosing a B complex formula also provides you with vitamin B6 which can be particularly beneficial during hormonal fluctuations because of its contribution to the regulation of hormonal activity.

Magnesium: To help you sleep and keep you relaxed and calm you’ll need some magnesium which contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system. A magnesium supplement that contains Magnesium L-threonate is especially beneficial for supporting brain function.12 Food sources of magnesium include green vegetables, nuts seeds and wholegrains so adding these into your meal plans can be very beneficial.

3. The advantage of phytoestrogens and lignans

Some plants and herbs contain phytoestrogens, which gently mimic natural oestrogen and may help with hormone balance.13 Phytoestrogens are adaptogens, which means they help normalise oestrogen levels by interacting with oestrogen receptors. This activity helps to modify the effects of insufficient or excess oestrogen in the body bringing it more into balance and producing some relief from menopausal symptoms.13

You need a healthy gut flora in order to metabolise phytoestrogens effectively. Bacteria in the gut help transform phytoestrogens into metabolites that have far stronger effects and may lead to better absorption and a higher affinity with oestrogen receptors.14 Top up your diet with some of these phytoestrogen rich plant foods including:

  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Tamari
  • Linseeds
  • Red clover
  • Alfalfa
  • Ginseng
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Anise
  • Liquorice
  • Rhubarb

Add a tablespoon of powdered flax seed to your breakfast cereal for a good daily amount of soluble fibre, which helps to increase healthy gut flora and is also a rich source of phytoestrogens.

Flaxseeds, peanuts and lentils contain natural compounds called lignans. These plant lignans are another source of phytoestrogens in the typical western diet. Lignans are acted on by the bacteria in your gut and converted to phytoestrogens. Flax seeds are by far the richest dietary source of plant lignans which may help to balance your hormones at this time.

Other herbs known for their phytoestrogen properties, which you often find in supplements aimed at the menopause include13,15,16:

  • Dong quai
  • Black cohosh
  • Siberian ginseng
  • Hops
  • Mexican yam

Omega 7 essential fatty acids, found naturally in Sea Buckthorn, are thought to help protect, hydrate and improve skin quality. They may be particularly beneficial for soothing and lubricating dryness in any intimate and delicate areas.17 Shatavari is another herb known to be particularly beneficial for dry and inflamed tissues and is often used for the treatment of vaginal dryness in the menopause.

When choosing natural supplements give your body time to re-balance which in the case of hormones may take three months or more and you may need a combination for the best fit for you and your symptoms. It may take time to discover what works for you.

5. Establish a good sleep routine

It may seem obvious but getting at least eight to nine hours sleep a night is essential if you want to function well the next day. Following these tips can help to promote deep restorative sleep:

  • Make sure your bedroom is dark enough
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Avoid using screens before bedtime
  • Don’t exercise too late at night as this may energise you
  • Have a warm bath with magnesium salts to promote relaxation
  • Add some lavender oil to your pillow – which aids sleep
  • Listen to meditative music to help you drift off to sleep

Overall, it’s clear to see that you don’t need to resign yourself to ageing dry skin after the menopause, with the help of collagen and a good range of skin friendly nutrients, it is possible to keep looking and feeling good well into old age.

References

  1. Longnecker MP, Tseng M. Alcohol, hormones and postmenopausal women. Alcohol health & research worldwide 1998; 22,3: 185- 189.
  2. Stevenson S, Thornton J. Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(3):283-297. doi:10.2147/cia.s798.
  3. Raine-Fenning et al. Skin Aging and Menopause. Am J Clin Dermatol 2003; 4 (6):371-378.
  4. Kahan V, Andersen ML, Tomimori J, Tufik S. Can poor sleep affect skin integrity? Med Hypotheses. 2010 Dec;75(6):535-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2010.07.018. Epub 2010 Aug 1. PMID: 20678867.
  5. Stevenson S, Thornton J. Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(3):283-297. doi:10.2147/cia.s798.
  6. Raine-Fenning et al. Skin Aging and Menopause. Am J Clin Dermatol 2003; 4 (6):371-378.
  7. Shuster S, Black MM, McVitie E. The influence of age and sex on skin thickness, skin collagen and density. Br J Dermatol. 1975 Dec;93(6):639-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1975.tb05113.x. PMID: 1220811.
  8. Varani J, Dame MK, Rittie L, et al. Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation. Am J Pathol. 2006;168(6):1861-1868. doi:10.2353/ajpath.2006.051302
  9. Fisher GJ, Varani J, Voorhees JJ. Looking older: fibroblast collapse and therapeutic implications. Arch Dermatol. 2008 May;144(5):666-72. doi: 10.1001/archderm.144.5.666. PMID: 18490597; PMCID: PMC2887041.
  10. Goldberg LH et al. Alcohol and skin disorders: with a focus on psoriasis. Skin Therapy Letter 2011; 16,4.
  11. Slaven L, Lee C. Mood and symptom reporting among middle-aged women: the relationship between menopausal status, hormone replacement therapy, and exercise participation. Health Psychol 1997;16:203–8.
  12. Li F et al. Magnesium L-threonate prevents and restores memeory deficits associated with neuropathic pain by inhibition of TNF-a. Pain Physician 2013; 16:E563-E575.
  13. Geller SE & Studee L. Contemporary alternatives to plant eostrogens for menopause. Maturitas 2006; 55, 1: S3-S13.
  14. Stojanov, S., Kreft, S. Gut Microbiota and the Metabolism of Phytoestrogens. Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. 30, 145–154 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43450-020-00049-x
  15. Mayo JL. Black Cohosh and Chasteberry: Herbs Valued by Women for Centuries. CLINICAL NUTRITION INSIGHTS. 1998; 6,15: 1- 3
  16. Abdi F, Mobedi H, Roozbeh N. Hops for Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms: Mechanisms of Action. J Menopausal Med. 2016 Aug;22(2):62-4. doi: 10.6118/jmm.2016.22.2.62. Epub 2016 Aug 30. PMID: 27617238; PMCID: PMC5016504.
  17. Larmo PS, Yang B, Hyssälä J, Kallio HP, Erkkola R. Effects of sea buckthorn oil intake on vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Maturitas. 2014 Nov;79(3):316-21. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2014.07.010. Epub 2014.

Coping with the many symptoms of the menopause could make this hormone transition an unbearable time of life. One aspect of menopause health that you may feel increasingly challenged by is just how quickly your skin starts to age.

Nutritional Therapist Jackie Newson provides an insightful guide on how to preserve collagen so you can glow your way through the menopause.

What is the perimenopause?

Your menopause is likely to occur sometime between the age of 45 and 55, but a small percentage of women can experience early menopause in their mid-thirties. It all begins with the perimenopause, which can start from one to ten years before the menopause, this is when you might notice symptoms creeping in. These gradual changes are due to alterations in levels of two key female hormone, oestrogen and progesterone.

A fascinating fact about your ovaries is that they already contain approximately 2 million eggs at the time when you were born. These eggs are ripened and released with each ovulation, so as you age, your egg supplies are gradually exhausted. Once your ovaries are completely empty of eggs, ovulation stops, and your ovaries start to wind down the production of progesterone and oestrogen. This drop in hormones kicks off those typical symptoms of the perimenopause!

What are the symptoms of the perimenopause?

Oestrogen is a powerful hormone that exerts its activities via oestrogen receptors found on every many tissues in the body (and many more). When oestrogen is out of kilter the effects can be quite noticeable especially in the areas of the body where oestrogen receptors are found, which include:

  • Skin
  • Breast
  • Vagina
  • Womb
  • Urinary tract
  • Bones
  • Bowel
  • Liver
  • Brain
  • Fat cells
  • Blood vessel walls

How does your skin change during the menopause?

If you are struggling with the menopause, then you are not alone. In fact, 25% of women are so overwhelmed by the severity of their symptoms that they seek medical help.1 One of the bugbears for many women is the visible deterioration in skin quality, tone and texture which tends to occur quite rapidly within in the first few months.2 But aside from the obvious differences in skin health on more obviously visual areas of your body such as your face, there may also be noticeable changes in the delicate tissue in the more hidden and intimate areas such as the inner lining of the vagina and urinary tract. This is because within these areas a high concentrations of oestrogen receptors are found.3

Vaginal health during the menopause

Alterations in the fine balance of hormones can affect the mucus membranes of your vagina and vulva lessening the amount of lubrication in these areas. This may lead to uncomfortable dryness, burning, itching and pain. The skin in your vagina is likely to become thinner and may tear more easily, as a result, intercourse could become painful and might cause bleeding, if vaginal lubricants aren’t used.

Why do menopausal women get recurring cystitis?

Changes in hormone levels throughout the menopause mean that the muscles and tissue which provide tone, strength and support to your bladder and urethra may become weak. So the bacteria that cause cystitis, which would normally be washed through the bladder and urethra by fast flowing urine, tend to linger and collect in weakened areas where urine flow is slower and less powerful than usual. Recurrent cystitis is often an irritating feature of menopausal health. In these cases, it is important to consult your doctor.

Beauty sleep and the menopause

In terms of skin quality and appearance, lack of sleep around the menopause could also take its toll, promoting dark shadows under the eyes and impairing skin integrity. Evidence suggests that there may be a link between immune system function and collagen production.4 Sleep deprivation may disrupt the restorative effects on the immune system, which could lower immune responses and this could seem to affect collagen synthesis. Lack of beauty sleep may contribute to a possible break down in skin barrier and mucous membrane function.

Collagen and skin health for mature women

The skin more than any other organ shows the effects of ageing brought about by hormone changes as you make your way through the menopause. Oestrogen and other hormones have a significant influence on your skin’s development and composition5 and adequate levels are needed to help support skin functional and structural integrity. Your skin is composed mainly of collagen, a matrix protein that provides a kind of scaffolding structure that can deteriorate when your female hormone levels start to decline. In fact, around 30% of the collagen in yoru skin is likely to be lost during the first five years following your menopause.6 Once oestrogen start to dwindle, collagen content in the skin is reduced too and you may start to experience increased dryness, decreased firmness, less elasticity and more wrinkles.

What the scientists say about collagen

Early research demonstrates that both age and sex directly impact skin collagen levels affecting skin thickness and skin density.7 Collagen production, especially types I and II are known to decrease with age particularly in women8, so it’s no surprise that after the menopause women start to see rapid changes in the appearance and texture of their skin. Those that choose to receive oestrogen replacement therapy may benefit from collagen support and skin thickness.6

Special cells called fibroblasts that play a key role in the renewal and repair of collagen within the skin. Scientific research also shows that the breakdown of the collagen framework found in the matrix that supports the underlying skin layers, is partly responsible for the loss of structural integrity and the impairment of fibroblast function in the skin.9 Old fibroblasts produce low levels of collagen and high levels of collagen-degrading enzymes. At the same time, the decrease in healthy collagen fibres results in a loss of the mechanical stimulation that is needed to trigger new collagen production.8 The good news is that some scientists are investigating if age-related decreases in collagen synthesis could be partly reversible.

Do-able solutions for menopausal skin

It’s not possible to totally avoid the menopause, but you can, in some cases, minimise difficult symptoms by incorporating some dietary and lifestyle changes. This may help you feel more positive about your menopause experience. In the absence of oestrogen, there are some actions you can take to delay the physical effects of ageing on your skin. The ai is to support your hormone balance, maintain optimal levels of collagen,9 focus on hydration, exercise often and improve your beauty sleep.

5 Easy steps for youthful menopausal skin

1. Reducing stress to support hormone balance

After the menopause your adrenal glands play a role in hormone balance by topping up levels of oestrogen produced by your ovaries. However, these glands also respond to stress. If your adrenals are preoccupied with dealing with stress or are tired and exhausted then your post-menopausal production of adrenal oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone may become compromised.

Progesterone is almost exclusively adrenal in origin following the menopause and this hormone is part of the stress cycle as the adrenals can covert progesterone into the stress hormone cortisol. High stress levels may push progesterone down this pathway rather than using it to produce testosterone and oestrogen. This can be a factor in hormone imbalance at menopause and is a good reason to try and find strategies to keep stress to a minimum.

2. Healthy lifestyle habits for a manageable menopause

Most menopausal women are at an age when juggling a career with family life and children’s educational needs can be exhausting, so coping with unpredictable hormone fluctuations just adds another level of stress. But a few dietary tweaks and some regular exercise can help to make life calmer and more manageable.

Caffeine: It’s a good idea to reduce your daily caffeine by cutting back on tea, coffee, fizzy drinks, and chocolate. Why? Caffeine exacerbates hot flushes and insomnia; it increases the rate at which calcium is lost from the body and puts additional stress on the adrenal glands.
Alcohol: Although it’s tempting to turn to a few glasses of wine at the end of a stressful day, this may just accelerate your menopausal symptoms. Alcohol is known to disrupt sleep, changing both the length and quality and is also a nervous system depressant leading to low mood and anxiety. What’s more, alcohol is thought to enhance inflammatory processes and suppress immune function which may add to the deterioration of skin health.10

Relaxation: Spend at least twenty minutes everyday relaxing. Enjoy the calming benefits of yoga or learn how to meditate. Deep breathing exercises are very simple to do and can aid relaxation and reduce anxiety rapidly.

Get fit: Regular exercise brings many health benefits too not just in terms of reducing stress but also improving cardiovascular health, which will enhance the flow of oxygen and nutrients around the body improving cellular functions and thus hormone balance. An added bonus is that the improved oxygen and nutrient delivery help keep your skin healthy and glowing. What’s more, participating in aerobic exercise has been shown to bring immediate symptom relief amongst menopausal women.11

3. Key nutritional supplements

It’s not always easy to keep your diet balanced, especially when fitting new nourishing foods for your skin healthy into your existing daily meal plan. Including a selection of well-chosen vitamins and minerals help offer support for any troublesome menopausal symptoms you could be experiencing.

Vitamin C: This vitamin is part of the holy grail for healthy glowing skin and goes a long way to helping you achieve it. Vitamin C is known to contribute to normal collagen formation for the normal function of skin and blood vessels. Without good blood vessel tone you’re less likely to see that fresh faced blush of youth or gain effective delivery of the key nutrients needed to feed your skin. Liposomal vitamin C is the one you want if you’re looking for rapid absorption, Clinical studies have shown that taking liposomal Altrient C at 3 sachets a day has remarkable benefits with significant increase in elasticity and firmness and significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, including:

  • 40% increase in elasticity and firmness in just 8 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.
  • 61.4% increase is elasticity and firmness within 16 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.
  • 8% reduction in fine lines and wrinkles in just 8 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.
  • 13% reduction in fine lines and wrinkles within 16 weeks, taking 3 Altrient C sachets a day.

These results demonstrate the key nutritional support for visibly ageing skin that liposomal Altrient C offers. Alternatively, a high-quality powdered vitamin C, such as Total C, is another beneficial option which allows you to customise your daily dose.

Collagen: Topping up on hydrolysed collagen peptides can be a game changer for women trying to keep their skin looking and feeling radiant and youthful. Collagen levels naturally start to decline from the age of 30 onwards, hydrolysed collagen peptides are ideal because they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream helping to replenish collagen reserves. A daily dose of collagen teamed up with vitamin C is the perfect combination for supporting glowing, flexible skin.

B vitamins: if vaginal dryness is making your life miserable, stocking up on a good liposomal vitamin B complex is a sensible choice. Niacin, vitamin B2 and biotin all contribute to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes and normal skin. Choosing a B complex formula also provides you with vitamin B6 which can be particularly beneficial during hormonal fluctuations because of its contribution to the regulation of hormonal activity.

Magnesium: To help you sleep and keep you relaxed and calm you’ll need some magnesium which contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system. A magnesium supplement that contains Magnesium L-threonate is especially beneficial for supporting brain function.12 Food sources of magnesium include green vegetables, nuts seeds and wholegrains so adding these into your meal plans can be very beneficial.

3. The advantage of phytoestrogens and lignans

Some plants and herbs contain phytoestrogens, which gently mimic natural oestrogen and may help with hormone balance.13 Phytoestrogens are adaptogens, which means they help normalise oestrogen levels by interacting with oestrogen receptors. This activity helps to modify the effects of insufficient or excess oestrogen in the body bringing it more into balance and producing some relief from menopausal symptoms.13

You need a healthy gut flora in order to metabolise phytoestrogens effectively. Bacteria in the gut help transform phytoestrogens into metabolites that have far stronger effects and may lead to better absorption and a higher affinity with oestrogen receptors.14 Top up your diet with some of these phytoestrogen rich plant foods including:

  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Tamari
  • Linseeds
  • Red clover
  • Alfalfa
  • Ginseng
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Anise
  • Liquorice
  • Rhubarb

Add a tablespoon of powdered flax seed to your breakfast cereal for a good daily amount of soluble fibre, which helps to increase healthy gut flora and is also a rich source of phytoestrogens.

Flaxseeds, peanuts and lentils contain natural compounds called lignans. These plant lignans are another source of phytoestrogens in the typical western diet. Lignans are acted on by the bacteria in your gut and converted to phytoestrogens. Flax seeds are by far the richest dietary source of plant lignans which may help to balance your hormones at this time.

Other herbs known for their phytoestrogen properties, which you often find in supplements aimed at the menopause include13,15,16:

  • Dong quai
  • Black cohosh
  • Siberian ginseng
  • Hops
  • Mexican yam

Omega 7 essential fatty acids, found naturally in Sea Buckthorn, are thought to help protect, hydrate and improve skin quality. They may be particularly beneficial for soothing and lubricating dryness in any intimate and delicate areas.17 Shatavari is another herb known to be particularly beneficial for dry and inflamed tissues and is often used for the treatment of vaginal dryness in the menopause.

When choosing natural supplements give your body time to re-balance which in the case of hormones may take three months or more and you may need a combination for the best fit for you and your symptoms. It may take time to discover what works for you.

5. Establish a good sleep routine

It may seem obvious but getting at least eight to nine hours sleep a night is essential if you want to function well the next day. Following these tips can help to promote deep restorative sleep:

  • Make sure your bedroom is dark enough
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Avoid using screens before bedtime
  • Don’t exercise too late at night as this may energise you
  • Have a warm bath with magnesium salts to promote relaxation
  • Add some lavender oil to your pillow – which aids sleep
  • Listen to meditative music to help you drift off to sleep

Overall, it’s clear to see that you don’t need to resign yourself to ageing dry skin after the menopause, with the help of collagen and a good range of skin friendly nutrients, it is possible to keep looking and feeling good well into old age.

References

  1. Longnecker MP, Tseng M. Alcohol, hormones and postmenopausal women. Alcohol health & research worldwide 1998; 22,3: 185- 189.
  2. Stevenson S, Thornton J. Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(3):283-297. doi:10.2147/cia.s798.
  3. Raine-Fenning et al. Skin Aging and Menopause. Am J Clin Dermatol 2003; 4 (6):371-378.
  4. Kahan V, Andersen ML, Tomimori J, Tufik S. Can poor sleep affect skin integrity? Med Hypotheses. 2010 Dec;75(6):535-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2010.07.018. Epub 2010 Aug 1. PMID: 20678867.
  5. Stevenson S, Thornton J. Effect of estrogens on skin aging and the potential role of SERMs. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(3):283-297. doi:10.2147/cia.s798.
  6. Raine-Fenning et al. Skin Aging and Menopause. Am J Clin Dermatol 2003; 4 (6):371-378.
  7. Shuster S, Black MM, McVitie E. The influence of age and sex on skin thickness, skin collagen and density. Br J Dermatol. 1975 Dec;93(6):639-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1975.tb05113.x. PMID: 1220811.
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