True or False: Probiotics = Healthy Menopause?
I turned 65 this year and am often asked how I ski 50 days a year or why I don’t quite look the way they thought a 65-year-old should look. We all age differently. Period. It would be so boring if we were all the same, but today, with exciting advances in nutrition, and therapies, we can all age healthily and continue to live the lifestyle we desire!
My menopause story is a bit different from most that I have read. Although, I am sure there are many that will relate to my story. There was no “perimenopause” or lead up to it…no night sweats to warn me that it was impending. I had a “surgical” menopause. I went from having a full set of hormones to waking up with NONE. I was immediately given estrogen patches and told by my physician that all would be “back to normal.” I am a huge believer in being proactive in our own healthcare. And, after a year of “okay” results (and hot flashes), I decided to take control of my menopause experience!
Knowing I could feel better, I spent the next two years researching gut health and its effects on our bodies and function. Every article and abstract I read concluded that menopause often causes serious health challenges for us at a time when we begin living our best lives and pursuing goals and adventures.
This article from the Frontiers of Microbiology Journal was a good one. "Many chronic diseases can emerge after estrogen levels decline, which will affect a considerable part of a woman’s life. Understanding the role of the microbiota in women’s health at the menopausal phase could help to improve strategies for microbiota modulation and prevent dysfunction. The oral and gut microbiotas have been extensively studied in women of reproductive age, while the menopausal period has been somewhat overlooked... probiotics and prebiotics can also be used in conjunction with menopause hormone therapy and may attenuate the side effects that can arise from hormone replacement."
Most of these articles or abstracts end their opinion with “More testing and research needs to be done….”. I feel that this is not so much a “liability based” statement as it is reflective of the fact that a fair amount of research and testing has been done on reproductive-aged women, and almost nothing has been done for our age demographic.
A concern amongst women with whom I work was that some of the supplements might not be safe. Not all supplements are regulated by the FDA, and it's largely dependant on the product's intended use. This means that the manufacture/production of these supplements is not overseen by regulatory agencies. That being said, here is an article supporting the safety of probiotics. If you're taking or considering a probiotic supplement, always check to see if your product is manufactured in an FDA certified facility. If you can't find it on the label, then check the FAQs on the company website. More often than not, all the information you'll need is there.
So, what did I do? My routine is fairly simple (we have too many other things to do, right?). I take both prebiotics and probiotics with my bio-identical hormone therapy. I eat well (with balance - not excluding any food types) and exercise daily. I believe that gut health is crucial to our aging well and being able to do whatever we want to do. Probiotics support healthy gut biomes.
ANSWER to our blog question:
TRUE. Probiotics are an essential part of supporting a healthy gut, and that simply means living healthier longer! Stay healthy, and keep learning!
About the Author
Rosanna Jenkins, is the founder and creator of “The New Face of 60,” a blog dedicated to challenging the perceptions surrounding aging. She believes in living life to the fullest by continuing to explore and to be adventurous. She’s a certified Nutrition and Healthy Living Coach through Cornell University. An avid skier, golfer, and proud nana, Rosanna Jenkins is living her life as an exclamation point and encourages others to do the same.