Diet for the Estrogen-Deficient Slow Processor

Thursday, April 14, 2011 by Susan Lark
If you are an estrogen deficient–slow processor, you tend to have greater reserves of alkaline minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc within your cells, tissues, and bones. Slow processors also have the body and hormonal makeup to be able to handle an acidic diet that is rich in red meat and dairy, but these foods lack the essential nutrients that all women need to maintain optimal health. For this reason, estrogen deficient–slow processors are best served by following a diet that is both highly acidic and nutrient-rich. This includes the following foods:

• High-fiber foods such as buckwheat and flaxseed
• Citrus fruits (oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit), berries, and pineapple
• All vegetables, especially sauerkraut, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, and broccoli
• Free-range poultry
• Wild fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, and tuna
• Free-range beef and lamb, as well as game meats like venison and buffalo
• Soy and soy-based foods
• Vinegar
• Raw nuts (almonds, walnuts)
• Heating spices such as turmeric (curry), ginger, cayenne pepper, chili powder and pepper, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon

By following this diet, slow processors are able to regain their energy and zest for life, reduce joint pain, and stabilize their female hormone levels. Not to mention, eating a healthy diet provides menopause relief from symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.

High-Dose Hormone Replacement Therapy--Still Being Prescribed?!

Thursday, March 17, 2011 by Susan Lark

According to a study that appeared online December 2, 2010 in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society states that many doctors are still prescribing high doses of conventional hormone replacement therapy for menopause hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia, even though the risks have been thoroughly proven and documented, and even though lower dose hormones are effective in alleviating these menopause symptoms.

I find this news so upsetting, considering how dangerous convention hormone replacement therapy has been proven to be--greatly increasing the risk of diseases like breast cancer and cardiovascular disease, to name just a few.

If you are one of those women still taking conventional hormone replacement to find menopause relief, please talk to your doctor about cutting back or stopping altogether. You can find many, many safe, suitable natural therapies for your  menopause symptoms throughout my blog.

And for more information on female hormones and natural menopause relief, please visit my Web site.

Spice It Up for Menopause Relief

Thursday, March 3, 2011 by Susan Lark

Curcumin, the therapeutic agent in the culinary herb turmeric, has long been known to have amazing health benefits, including anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. And recently, researchers identified a powerful phytoestrogen in curcumin called diarylheptanoid. Studies show that it interacts with estrogen receptors and has estrogen-like benefits that help to reverse, among other symptoms, the perimenopause symptom of vaginal dryness. 

One very easy way you can increase your curcumin intake is to start using turmeric as a culinary spice in your cooking. For example, whisk a teaspoon into a pint of homemade salad dressing, or stir a teaspoon into a pan of risotto or into any savory sauce or gravy. In addition to its earthy flavor and health benefits, turmeric adds a bright yellow color to your food.

However, for consistent therapeutic results, I recommend supplementing with 1,000 mg of curcumin daily, taken with food.

For other tips of how to reduce the bothersome effects of menopause, visit my Web site.

Suffer from Urinary Incontinence? Check Your Meds!

Saturday, February 26, 2011 by Susan Lark

Did you know that certain medications are notorious for promoting urinary incontinence--an effect of menopause that effects millions of women?

Talk to your physician or pharmacist to find out if any of your medications may be contributing to this troublesome menopause symptom. If so, find out whether there are alternatives.

A few incontinence-promoting drugs include antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil) and venlafaxine (Effexor); antihistamines such as Benadryl; antipsychotics such as haloperidol (Haldol); and calcium channel blockers such as verapamil (Calan) and nifedipine (Procardia).

You can find a much more complete list in a book called 20 Common Problems in Women’s Health Care by Mindy Smith, M.D. and Leslie A. Shimp, Pharm. D.

For more information on menopause symptoms and how to find natural menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Overactive Bladder: A Treatable Menopause Symptom

Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Susan Lark
I came across an article about overactive bladder/urinary incontinence--another effect of menopause that's not only difficult to discuss with others (like your doctor), but quite debilitating. While I like a lot of the treatment recommendations the author lays out in her article, including biofeedback, dietary changes, weight loss, and Kegel exercises, I am opposed to using medication and hormone replacement therapy for this menopause symptom, especially since relief can be found using the solutions mentioned earlier, as well as the following supplements:
  • Pumpkin seed extract has been found to be powerful in the treatment of the hypersensitive bladder in menopausal women suffering from urge incontinence. I like Enzymatic Therapy’s pumpkin seed extract product Better Bladder for Women.
  • Varuna is tailor-made for the treatment of urge incontinence. The bark of this medium-size tree, which grows along streams and river banks in India, is known for its ability to soothe bladder pain and neurogenically normalize bladder hypersensitivity. This herb is difficult to find on its own in reputable North American outlets, but I have included a high quality form in my bladder support product called Confident Control.
  • Magnesium supplementation has been shown to significantly cut down the frequency and severity of urge incontinence episodes, reduce the number of urinations per day, and decrease nighttime urination. In one study, the women in the treatment group saw significant improvement within a month of taking 350 mg magnesium hydroxide orally (that’s one teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia) twice a day. If your doctor approves, that’s the dose I’d recommend.

Acupressure to Boost Your Sex Drive

Thursday, February 17, 2011 by Susan Lark
This acupressure exercise helps to stimulate sexual desire, which often wanes as a result of menopause and menopause symptoms. The exercise uses a knotted hand towel to put pressure on hard-to-reach areas of the back. Place the knotted towel on these points while your two hands are on the other points I am going to describe.

1. Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Place the knotted towel under your right shoulder blade. Then place your left foot on your right knee.
2. Make a fist with your left hand and place it under your back, under the right part of your waist.
3. With your right hand, hold your inner left thigh.
4. Hold this position for one to three minutes.

For more information on natural menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Acupressure for Menopause Relief

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 by Susan Lark
I hear from my patients time and time again how much acupressure helps to relieve their menopause symptoms. So this week I'd like to share a few more acupressure exercises for menopause relief--targeting problems like lack of sex drive and vaginal dryness/atrophy.

Vaginal dryness is a common menopause complaint. It can lead to painful sex and loss of sex drive. Try this acupressure exercise to help alleviate vaginal dryness/atrophy.

1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent.
2. Extend your right leg out in front of you. 
3. With your right hand, place your pointer and middle fingers in the middle of the sole of your foot. Hold this point for one to three minutes.
4. Do this same exercise with your left leg/foot. 

For more information on natural options for menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Beneficial Bioidentical DHEA

Friday, February 11, 2011 by Kimberly Day
There are various preparations of DHEA on the market, as well as yam extracts, which are beneficial bioidentical DHEAsometimes purported to be a substitute for DHEA. It is important to understand the differences between these products.

The conversion of the extract to DHEA can be achieved only in the laboratory, not in the human body. Therefore, natural yam extract, while it does have some of its own health benefits, does not increase blood levels of DHEA. This was confirmed in a study published in Life Science.

Seven men and women, aged 65 to 82, were given yam extract for three weeks with no change in their DHEA level. In contrast, when the same group received 85 mg of DHEA a day, their blood levels of DHEA doubled.

Supplementing With DHEA

DHEA is most often taken in the form of capsules, which come in 5 mg, 10 mg, 25 mg, and 50 mg dosages. Once absorbed, the DHEA travels to the liver, where much of it is converted into androgens and estrogen. Because of this, not all the DHEA ingested enters the general circulation.

Micronized DHEA (the hormone broken into tiny particles) is more efficiently absorbed by the body because the small size of the particles allows them to enter first the lymphatic system and then the general circulation, initially bypassing the liver. Since DHEA is a fat-soluble hormone, it is better absorbed when taken with food. DHEA taken orally is quickly absorbed, and blood levels rise within one hour.

However, much still needs to be learned about optimal dosage, timing, and how the hormone is best administered. There is a question of whether it is appropriate to raise DHEA to youthful levels or simply to a level that is adequate, given a person’s age. Clinical trials are under way; in the meantime, clinicians who regularly prescribe DHEA generally agree on a certain range of starting dosages and recommend a gradual increase if needed.

Dr. Lark has found that DHEA supplementation may be most beneficial for women after menopause. Beginning dosages should range from 5–15 mg a day, then be increased by 5–10 mg a day, as needed. DHEA dosages in women should not exceed 25 mg per day.

Conversely, there is no reason for women who have not reached menopause or perimenopause to consider taking DHEA replacement therapy. Women with normal menstrual cycles have no need for supplementing with DHEA, since their bodies are making sufficient amounts of this hormone.

Some physicians recommend taking DHEA in the morning to reflect the body’s own production of the hormone by the adrenal glands. Taken later in the day, DHEA can have a stimulating effect and sometimes causes insomnia; however, for a person suffering from a condition such as chronic-fatigue syndrome, this energizing effect could be of benefit.

Note: Women should have a mammogram and Pap smear test done before beginning DHEA supplementation to avoid the risk of stimulating a preexisting cancer of the reproductive tract, since DHEA will increase the levels of the major sex hormones.

If you elect to use DHEA without a physician’s guidance, buy the lowest-dose products available in your health food store or pharmacy, begin to use it cautiously, and do not go above 25 mg on your own. Let your physician recommend dosages at higher levels, and be sure to carefully monitor the effects on your body.

Note: DHEA is generally considered safe when taken in recommended dosages of 25 mg or less. While some sensitive people may experience side effects with dosages as low as 5 mg, side effects usually occur only when DHEA is taken in much higher amounts.

Anyone taking over 50 mg a day of DHEA should be under a physician’s supervision. Elevated doses of DHEA can actually prevent the adrenal glands from making the quantity of DHEA they normally produce.

For more information on all female hormones, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Hormone Replacement Therapy Settlement

Thursday, February 10, 2011 by Susan Lark
A while ago, I wrote about and linked to an article that discussed tactics Wyeth (a division of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer) used to market its conventional hormone replacement therapy drug Prempro, even though executives were aware of the risks associated with hormone replacement, like breast cancer.

To follow up on this, yesterday, a report came out saying that Pfizer is paying $330 million to settle 2,200 claims from women who blamed Prempro for their breast cancer. This amounts to about $150,000 per person--WAY less than the costs they incurred during their cancer treatments, I'm sure.

I cannot reiterate enough the dangers associated with conventional hormone replacement. Protect your heart, protect your breasts, and protect your overall health by exploring the many natural therapies for hot flashes, night sweats, and other menopause symptoms that I discuss throughout my blog.

And for more information about natural menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Erase Age Spots

Monday, January 31, 2011 by Kimberly Day
A common problem among women with menopause problems is age spots. Sometimes referred erase age spotsto as liver spots, age spots are flat, brownish marks—usually round or oval in shape with irregular edges—that typically begin to show after menopause. They are often the result of free-radical damage throughout the body, often caused by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, heat, trauma, radiation, or heavy metals.

The occurrences also affect the formation of melanin, the dark pigment in skin, which hastens the formation of age spots. So when you look at an age spot, what you’re actually seeing is an accumulation of debris in your skin’s cells.

Poor eating habits—namely a diet based on dairy, red meat, and saturated fats—can also contribute to age spots. According to Chinese medicine, these foods congest the liver, blocking the chi (or energy), and preventing the liver from purifying the blood.

One easy to prevent the formation of age spots? Avoid these foods, opting instead for whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

For more great advice on natural anti aging skin care, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Say No to Antidepressants for Hot Flashes

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 by Susan Lark
I've been seeing a lot of stories in the news lately touting the use of antidepressants for the treatment menopause hot flashes. A recently conducted study showed that taking the antidepressant Lexapro for eight weeks dropped the number of menopause hot flashes in women from about 10 a day to an average of just over five a day.

I find it troubling that antidepressants could now be the recommended treatment-du-jour for menopause hot flashes. A decade ago, conventional hormone replacement therapy was the standard treatment, and that supposedly "safe" protocol turned out to be an indescribable health disaster for millions of women. And it's well-known that antidepressants do have side effects, including weight gain, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction--which also happen to be common menopause symptoms, too! So, while you may have fewer hot flashes when taking an antidepressant, you will likely experience other unpleasant symptoms that could make other aspects of your life challenging.

I urge you to try one or more of the many NATURAL menopause hot flash solutions I have discussed throughout my blog, including black cohosh, soy, and vitamin E.

And to get more tips on menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Sex After Menopause

Monday, January 3, 2011 by Susan Lark

Lack of sex drive later in life is a menopause symptom that many women are reluctant to discuss. Fortunately, there are supplements you can take that can help boost your libido naturally--without the risks of conventional hormone replacement therapy. Here are two supplements that can help relieve this common effect of menopause:

• L-dopa is the natural precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Among other benefits, dopamine is a powerful physical arouser. A woman’s natural levels of dopamine decline after age 45, and by about 13 percent every 10 years. That’s one reason a woman’s ability to achieve physical arousal can get progressively weaker over time. High doses of L-dopa (which requires a prescription) are used to treat Parkinson’s disease and often cause a profound increase in arousal, called hypersexuality, as a side effect. To capitalize on the arousal without taking it that far, I recommend using an extract of the herb Mucuna pruriens, such as Herbal Powers Mucuna Pruriens.

• L-arginine is an amino acid that is the direct precursor of nitric oxide (NO). NO relaxes specific arteries, which results in improved blood flow through the same pathway used by the drug Viagra. Recent studies show L-arginine to be very effective in sending much-needed blood to the clitoris, thereby improving physical sensitivity and arousal. In a recent study using a proprietary supplement called ArginMax® For Women, 51 percent of postmenopausal women in the treatment group saw significant improvement in their sex life, versus only 8 percent of the placebo group. I recommend either taking ArginMax for Women or 500 mg of L-arginine one to three times daily.

For more information on relief of menopause symptoms, visit my Web site.

Hormone Replacement Therapy: The Bad News Continues

Friday, October 22, 2010 by Susan Lark
Conventional hormone replacement therapy--specifically the brand Prempro--was in the news again this week. Follow-up studies published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association have found that Prempro increased women's risk of breast cancer, and these cancers were more likely to spread to the lymph nodes. Even worse, researchers found that the women who took Prempro were more likely to die of breast cancer.

This is disturbing news indeed--but definitely not surprising at all. I've discussed the dangers of conventional hormone replacement therapy many times in my newsletter, and Kimberly and I have written about it here on my blog. If you are currently taking hormone replacement therapy to ease your hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and other menopause symptoms, I strongly encourage you to look into more natural methods for menopause relief. Simply search through this blog to read about the many safe, natural options available to you. And to learn more on how to achieve menopause relief safely and naturally, visit my Web site.

Bitter Melon for Breast Cancer Prevention

Monday, October 11, 2010 by Susan Lark

In the October issue of my newsletter, Women's Wellness Today, I wrote about a nutrient that is just being recognized for its anti-breast cancer properties. It's called bitter melon. 

Tropical bitter melon is already known as a nutritional powerhouse and regulator of blood sugar and insulin levels. But recently, researchers discovered that supplemental bitter melon extract also helps inhibit breast cancer development and growth.

For breast cancer prevention: If you are in premenopause/perimenopause or beyond, I recommend taking 500–1,000 mg of bitter melon extract with each meal. You can find it online and in health food stores.

To learn more about breast cancer prevention, as well as menopause symptom relief, natural beauty care products, and so much more in women's health, visit my Web site.

Red Light for Estrogen Dominance

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 by Susan Lark
I love red light therapy for a wide variety of conditions, including migraines, acute and chronic pain, fatigue, lymphedema, cancer, and the reduction of the appearance of scars.
Red light is absorbed into your body through your eyes and skin. When various wavelengths of red light penetrate into your body, they stimulate energy production in the cells' mitochondria--the energy-producing powerhouses of the cells. This enables the energy from food to be released and trapped as high-energy bonds called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is found in all of our cells and releases energy needed to fuel nearly all chemical reactions in the body. Thus, red light therapy helps your body create energy, vitality, and stamina so that every tissue and organ system works more efficiently.

If you suffer from estrogen dominance, the excess estrogen likely causes you to have a slower, more sluggish metabolism. You also might have excess weight, fluid retention, PMS symptoms, fibroids, and irregular periods. Red light therapy is very useful for estrogen dominance, due to its heating and contracting effects on the body that cause the heart and pulse to speed up and the body to get rid of excess fluids through urination. 

ne of my all-time favorite red light therapy devices is the X-Light the Chee Energy Company. Use as directed. And for more information on estrogen dominance and menopause relief, visit my Web site.

Acupuncture for Estrogen Dominance

Monday, September 13, 2010 by Susan Lark
I've written many times about acupressure for menopause relief and for balancing estrogen levels in women who have estrogen dominance. But acupressure's "cousin," acupuncture, is equally effective for these things--especially for estrogen dominance. 

According to a study from the Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics, acupuncture was highly effective in significantly reducing a wide variety of estrogen dominance and PMS symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, headaches, nausea, and gastrointestinal complaints.

To find a skilled, certified acupuncturist, visit the Acufinder acupuncture referral service. And to learn more about how to naturally reduce menopause symptoms and balance estrogen levels, visit my Web site.

Yoga Help for Hot Flashes

Friday, September 10, 2010 by Kimberly Day
If you are looking for menopause relief, especially help for hot flashes and menopause-related anxiety, then the Pump exercise is just what the doctor ordered. This exercise also strengthens the back and abdominal muscles.
  • Lie down and press the small of your back into the floor. This allows you to use your abdominal muscles without straining your lower back.
  • Keep your back flat on the floor and let the rest of your body remain relaxed.
  • Slowly raise your right leg while breathing in. Make a conscious effort to move slowly. Imagine your leg is being pulled up smoothly by a spring.
  • Hold for a few breaths; exhale as you lower your leg.
  • Repeat this exercise on your left side.
  • Repeat entire sequence, alternating legs, 5–10 times.

For more information on female hormones and other health concerns, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

September is Menopause Awareness Month

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 by Susan Lark
Believe it or not, September has been named National Menopause Awareness Month!

While I can appreciate that medical professionals and national health organizations are addressing the very real effects of menopause that so many women deal with every day, the fact remains that menopause is not a disease. It is a very natural progression that occurs in every woman's life.  Yes, menopause symptoms can be difficult--and for some women, even unbearable--to live with. This is why I devote my practice, my supplement line, my newsletter and books, and even this blog to helping women find safe, effective, all-natural menopause relief every day. I hope I'm able to help you live the most vibrant life possible, and thanks for reading and supporting my efforts!

To learn more about menopause symptom relief, visit my Web site.

Understanding Yoga

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 by Kimberly Day
September is National Yoga Month, so to honor this amazing practice, I will feature a variety of yoga exercises and/or poses that help to ease a variety of health concerns.

Let’s start with a basic understanding of the different types of yoga you may see offered at your local gym or yoga studio.
  • Hatha—the basis for most other forms of yoga. It is usually slower and geared toward those new to the practice.
  • Iyengar—uses props, such as straps, blocks, blankets, etc.
  • Ashtanga—involves synchronizing breath with movement. It is usually a pretty quick-paced practice.
  • Anusara—built on impeccable alignment, which in turn helps develop the flexibility and muscle tone to support flawless body mechanics.
  • Bikram, or hot, yoga—the teacher turns up the heat up in the room during the practice.
  • Power yoga—more of a gym workout than a discipline. It's usually a combination of Ashtanga and Bikram yogas.

Depending on your hormone profile (i.e. do you have estrogen dominance, are you in premenopause, or do you suffer from menopause symptoms), you will want to choose your yoga practice carefully.

Women with estrogen dominance should opt for faster, hotter, more aerobic forms of yoga, such as ashtanga, bikram or hot yoga, and power yoga. Women looking for menopause relief are better suited to the slower, cooler forms like hatha, iyengar, and anusara yoga.

For more information on female hormones and other health concerns, visit Dr. Lark’s Web site.

Fibroid-Fighting Recommendation #5

Friday, September 3, 2010 by Susan Lark
My fifth recommendation to fight fibroids naturally is to supplement with natural progesterone.

The late John Lee, MD pioneered the use of natural progesterone to reverse estrogen dominance. ProgesterAll cream is what I recommend you try. The dose is 1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp massaged once or twice daily into your face, neck, inner thighs or the palms of your hands.

If you are still menstruating, use the cream from day 14 to day 28 of your menstrual cycle. Women in menopause not taking estrogen may use progesterone for three weeks each month. 

For more information on estrogen dominance, balancing female hormones, and much more, visit my Web site.