We live in a culture that is seeking the Fountain of Youth and is often willing to spend thousands of dollars on the latest anti-aging gimmick, like the cream that promises to eliminate our age-related neck wrinkles. Yet, often at the core of this search for the best anti-aging routine and products is a lack of understanding of what actually causes the changes we experience as we age. Without that knowledge, we don’t understand how to age wellmaintain energy, keep off extra weight, and how to eat differently as we age for optimal health. When we better understand what is happening to our body as we get older, we can make effective adjustments and feel better than we ever have before.

Common Symptoms of Aging in Women

Fatigue

If you’re in your mid-40s or older, you understand the bone-weariness that we’re talking about. Fatigue is sneaky and can have many different causes. You might be tired because of a poor diet. If you’re eating a lot of high-glycemic foods, your blood sugar goes high, then you secrete a bunch of insulin, which brings your blood sugar crashing back down. If you’re eating a high-carb breakfast like a bowl of cereal (Yes, even those “healthy” cereals!) and a banana, you will feel tired, hungry, and ready to take a nap less than 2 hours after your breakfast.

If you’re not getting enough protein (remember that cheese pizza you just had for dinner?) you will also struggle with a tiredness that you can’t seem to shake. In fact, most women are only getting half of the protein they need. Protein needs differ from woman to woman and are based on body size, muscle mass, and exercise level, but a good estimate for most women’s daily protein needs is 100-120 grams.

Fatigue may also come from deficiencies like thyroid, an important hormone that governs your basal metabolic rate. You’ll notice a different pattern of tiredness caused by a thyroid deficiency as opposed to an unhealthy diet, because you will also experience low-thyroid symptoms such as constipation, weight gain, and a feeling that you can’t get enough sleep.

Weight Gain

Did you know that a woman’s body starts the perimenopause or menopausal transition in the late-30s? It can be confusing to a woman in her 30s or 40s because we often expect hormone changes to come later in life in our 50s. Yet, women should start replacing certain hormones as they begin to decline in the late 30s and keep the hormones corrected as they move through the changes of the 40s and early 50s.  Many of the hormones that are lost help the woman to stay lean and as she loses these hormones, she gains weight – especially in the mid-section.  Because that sort of weight gain has a different cause than weight gain earlier in life, it doesn’t respond to just tightening up the diet and improving the exercise.  You must also address the hormonal deficiencies.

Inability to Fall or Remain Asleep

Remember the hormone called progesterone that keeps your mood even, alleviates anxiety, and helps you to sleep well? Loss of progesterone, typically in our early 40s, is a major cause of sleep disruption.  Progesterone binds to the GABA receptor which is the neurotransmitter that makes you sleep. With the age-related decline in progesterone production, you’re losing your ability to fall and stay asleep.

Poor nutrition can also play a role in sleep disruption.  If you are eating foods or drinking beverages in the evening that stimulate cortisol secretion (high glycemic carbohydrates, caffeine, alcohol) it makes it difficult for the brain to shut off for sleep.

Loss of Libido

This is due mostly to the loss of testosterone with age and is easily replaced.  Many women assume that their loss of libido in their 40s is caused by the demands of family and career, and so they give up on this part of their marriage relationship.

How to Decrease the Symptoms of Aging

There’s no magic pill to stop aging but with hormone replacement, a nutritious eating plan, proper anti-aging skin care, and an effective exercise plan, you’ll have more energy, feel better, and yes, perhaps even live longer.

Hormone Replacement— There are 3 main hormones that decrease as women age:

1. Progesterone: This hormone is one of the first to drop in the late 30s or early 40s and helps you fall and remain asleep. Lack of progesterone is a common cause of irritability and poor sleep in this age group.

2. Testosterone: Testosterone is one of the hormones responsible for keeping you lean and strong, so when you lose the optimal testosterone levels, your waistlines start to get a bit thicker. This hormone is also critical for keeping a good libido and a clear mind.

3. Estrogen: The loss of estrogen is what defines menopause and is accompanied by night sweats, hot flashes, mid-section weight gain, vaginal dryness, and often urinary symptoms. The average age of menopause world-wide is 51, though some women can become menopausal at a significantly younger age.

4. Thyroid, DHEA, IGF-1: These are other hormones that typically drop with age and can either be stimulated or directly replaced.

Women have been getting hormone replacement since the early 1950s, and we have decades of evidence of the benefits of hormone replacement.  Getting your testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone replaced will help you sleep deeply, feel rested, become more energized, and lose weight easier. Replacing these hormones also lowers the risk of colon cancer, breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, and dementia.  At Cenegenics, our patients enjoy bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to reverse the signs of aging and achieve optimal balance.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Nutrition levels affect your energy levels, ability to get a restful night’s sleep, and appearance of aging. If you’re eating a diet full of sugar and carbohydrates (ahem, that bowl full of pasta), you’ll gain weight and struggle with a roller-coaster of energy. Stabilize your blood sugar by eating enough protein, minimizing high-glycemic carbohydrates, and consuming healthy fats. The more stable your blood sugar levels are, the more consistent energy you’ll have throughout the day. For a start, check out this list of five superfoods to fight aging.

For a better night’s sleep, eat a diet full of vegetables, minimal or no sugar, low-glycemic food choices, and an optimal amount of protein combined with healthy fats. If you struggle eating meat for your day’s amount of protein, follow this guide for meat-alternative high protein foods.

Receive a Health Evaluation

Let’s be honest, our bodies are complicated. An extensive health evaluation will reveal which hormones are out of balance and how to get back on track with healthy nutrition, an exercise plan, hormone optimization, and the correct use of vitamins and nutritional supplementations all customized to your unique body. Cenegenics Denver’s age-management and anti-aging program uses Precision Medicine to help you feel and look better as you age.