Most people are aware of common menopause symptoms like hot flushes, mood swings, and insomnia. Less well known, however, are the effects menopause can have on mental health. According to research by Nuffield Health
, large numbers of women are struggling to cope with their mental health during menopause and perimenopause among their residing symptoms. Of the women surveyed experiencing symptoms: - 47% feel depressed - 37% are experiencing anxiety - 18% have needed to take time off work because of their menopausal symptoms Another research review
highlights the impact of brain fog and other cognitive complaints during menopause. This review suggests that 62-67% of women report symptoms of brain fog and issues affecting memory, concentration, and planning during menopause. It’s easy to put these symptoms down to overwork, stress, and lack of sleep, but in fact, the hormonal changes and psychological effects of menopause and perimenopause may be the real underlying cause.
How does oestrogen affect the brain?
There is a complex hormonal messenger system that runs between the brain and ovaries called the neuroendocrine system. The brain and ovaries are communicating with each other all the time, and oestrogen is one of the key messengers. Oestrogen receptors are found throughout the brain. When oestrogen levels start to fluctuate during perimenopause, it affects brain functioning and can lead to a decline in mental health during menopause. Neuroscientist Dr Lisa Mosconi
states that many perimenopausal symptoms originate in the brain. For example, if there’s not enough oestrogen available for receptors in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory, then we become forgetful. Oestrogen fluctuations affecting the amygdala can cause anxiety, because this is the part of the brain that deals with primal fear-based responses. Eventually, the brain will start to adapt to the new lower levels of oestrogen. But this takes time, and symptoms can be confounded by other factors like stress, lack of sleep, and dietary choices.
Menopause and pre-existing mental health conditions
Menopause can make pre-existing mental health conditions
worse. If you have a history of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, you may find your symptoms aggravated by changing hormone levels. Talk to your GP if symptoms become harder to manage as you may need to change your medication.
Support your Menopausal Mental Health with Pura Collagen®
Our unique formulations contain a range of synergistic ingredients that can support menopausal mental wellbeing. Sleep Insomnia is a common symptom of perimenopause and menopause. And lack of sleep can make other symptoms like brain fog, forgetfulness, low mood, and irritability even worse. Our Sleep formula
combines hydrolysed collagen peptides with magnesium, zinc, and amino acids to soothe the nervous system and support a good night’s sleep. Magnesium has several benefits for mental wellbeing. Known as the ‘anti-stress’ mineral, it helps relax tense muscles and is used to produce serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that mediates feelings of happiness, satisfaction, and optimism. Serotonin can be converted in the body to melatonin, the sleep hormone that guides our sleep-wake cycle. Glow+ Our award-winning formulation for skin, hair, and nails
contains vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D3. Studies show that vitamin C
has an antidepressant effect and can help alleviate low mood. Vitamin C requirements increase when you’re stressed because it is used to manufacture stress hormones like cortisol. Low levels of vitamin D3 are associated with depression and low energy. Most vitamin D is made in the skin after exposure to UVB sunlight. Deficiency is common in the UK because we don’t get nearly enough sunshine! Supplementation is recommended for all adults and children
during winter, and many people need to take it all year round. You will find 10ug (100% of the Recommended Daily Allowance) in both Glow+ and Protect. Zinc is a trace mineral used in hundreds of biochemical pathways in the brain relating to mental wellbeing. Low levels of zinc are associated with increased anxiety
Lifestyle tips for mental wellbeing
Making a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle can help ease menopausal symptoms and support your mental wellbeing. Try these easy tips for starters:
Minimise tea, coffee, and energy drinks
Caffeine can worsen anxiety and mood swings. Caffeine sensitivity can alter over time, and you may not be able to handle it as well as you did pre-menopause. Gradually reduce your intake and swap to herbal teas, Redbush tea, and coffee substitutes instead.
Reduce alcohol intake
While it’s tempting to reach for wine after a difficult day, alcohol can worsen mental health problems. It has both stimulatory and sedative effects
and is known to disrupt sleep. Plus, your liver needs to use a lot of B-vitamins and antioxidant nutrients to process and detoxify alcohol – nutrients that are better used for supporting energy and mood-balance.
Eat every 4-5 hours to support steady blood glucose levels. Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugars and feeling “hangry” – hungry and irritable at the same time! As well as increasing anxiety and low mood.
Protein, protein, protein!
Include good quality protein in each meal and snack. The Pura Collagen® formulations contain between 5000 – 10,000mg protein per serving and are easy to add to smoothies, milky drinks, yoghurt, or just plain water.
Get plenty of rest
Give yourself the opportunity for 7-9 hours’ sleep each night. Switch off from screens at least 30mins before bed and establish a bedtime routine to help your mind wind-down.
Explore soothing, stress-busting activities like yoga and meditation. Yoga can increase levels of GABA
in the brain, helping to calm an overactive mind. Move your body every day to trigger the release of mood-boosting endorphins in the brain. Where possible, do movement and exercise outdoors: being outside in natural light is helpful for supporting a balanced sleep/wake cycle.
Find out more!
For more information on the ingredients in our Pura Collagen® formulations, take a look at our blog ‘The Science Behind the Ingredients’
, and hop over to the Pura shop
to discover our full range of products.