Anxiety and moods swings during menopause

About the Disorder

Hormonal variations characterizing menopause can make one feel particularly “down”, wanting to cry and feeling as if the world were about to fall to pieces.

Moods swings, anxiety, emotional responses are typical of the female world, generally caused by hormonal fluctuations during the fertile period. In particularly susceptible individuals, these manifestations can worsen during the menopausal phase, become a serious limitation to the normal carrying out of daily routine activities, making the person feel inadequate and undermining her self-esteem.

Symptoms range from anxiety, sleep disorders, irritability and vulnerability, up to depressive syndromes. These are all adaptation signs linked to the ongoing hormonal unbalance and its influence on the nervous system.

Let’s now investigate why these symptoms appear. First of all, it must be said that female hormones –  namely estrogens and progesterone, bear a significant impact on our nervous system. Binding with specific receptors and distributed throughout the nervous system, these hormones contribute to activate their functionality and efficiency. A lack and unbalance of these hormones during menopause affects nerve transmission and communication between cells, which can become inefficient and slow, until a new, balanced situation is established.

Certain substances in the organism enable nerve cells to communicate with each other, namely neurotransmitters. Some of these, called endorphins, are called “molecules of happiness”: they help regulate sleep-wake rhythms and contribute to respond to daily situations in a balanced way. Most endorphins are secreted at hypophysis and  hypothalamus level. During menopause, the hypothalamus-hypophysis axis, in charge of hormonal activities and of the female reproductive cycle during the fertile period, shows signs of tension and unbalance: the ensuing, unbalanced hormonal levels is also reflected on the production of endorphins, leading to anxiety and unstable mood.

Moreover, sexual hormones – estrogens in particular, influence levels of another neurotransmitter, namely serotonin. When estrogens decrease, so does the level of serotonin. This is another reason why some menopausal women feel depressed. It must be added that serotonin also regulates gastrointestinal functions: at times, irritability, nervousness and depression are accompanied by abdominal bloating, irritable colon, digestive difficulties, water retention and weight gain… all of which are surely not reasons to feel particularly positive.

Given the impact of hormones on our mood and on the general functioning of the nervous system, besides influencing the sleep-wake rhythm, it is easy to comprehend female emotionality, vulnerability and the propensity to anxiety and depressive conditions.

In this delicate phase, women need to be supported with concrete help, enabling them to handle and overcome difficult times without suppressing symptoms, ie. “silencing” them, much like conventional medicine often tends to do.  Resorting to anti-anxiety or antidepressant drugs or hormone replacement therapy can, in fact, lead to serious risks for the body’s health, while they do not offer definitive solutions in any way but only manage offer temporary relief.

A valid approach in terms of efficacy and safety of use for menopausal women going through a period of fragility and vulnerability, is based first of all on the rebalancing of hormonal rhythms by means of basic, natural systems (thereby supporting women and helping them to smoothly adapt to the ongoing hormonal unbalance) and providing basic integration, essential to compensate for certain nutritional deficiencies that are typical of the Western world and that aggravate women’s phsyco-physical health.

Finally, in order to complete the intended action, the approach provides for direct and more specific help to improve symptoms,  calming down anxiety in a natural way and supporting women from a psychological point of view. Nature can therefore once more offer valuable help, with ingredients of proven efficacy.

Nature can help you in case of anxiety and mood swings during menopause.

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

To help women handle anxiety symptoms, excessively emotional responses and moods swings that may occur during menopause, we offer an approach addressing several aspects, all of which important and to be followed simultaneously, so as to ensure synergic action of all  constituents involved:

  1. rebalancing hormonal rhythms, by modulating the irregular trends generally occurring during menopause;
  2. compensating for a widespread nutritional shortage in the Western world (namely, the lack of magnesium) and effectively contrasting oxidative stress, responsible for aggravating menopausal disorders;
  3. calming down anxiety in a natural way, supporting women from a psychological point of view.  

This approach, combined with a healthy lifestyle (in terms of diet, but not only), includes the use of natural remedies that are well known in folk tradition and the efficacy of which in providing a valuable and effective opportunity to address this problem has been confirmed by recent studies.

  1. To rebalance hormonal rhythms, by modulating the irregular trends generally occurring during menopause…

Nature can help you with…

Soy isoflavones: these substances, which belong to the category of phytoestrogens, are capable of binding with receptors for estrogens (even though less similar), exerting a mild hormone-like action (in fact, they are less powerful, exactly 1000 to 10.000 weaker compared to estradiol). Scientists became interested in studying soy isoflavones after noticing that typical menopausal symptoms were absent in Asian woman, whose diet instead is rich in soy. Epidemiological studies have moreover pointed out that the incidence of degenerative pathologies, of arteriosclerosis and osteoporosis, as well as of certain tumours – affecting breast and uterus, is definitely lower in Eastern countries compared to the West.

The extraordinary nature of phytoestrogens, and isoflavones in particular, lies in their capacity to modulate action carried out by physiological estrogens, rebalancing their effects. Recent studies have shown that isoflavones exert both an antagonist and agonist action on estrogen receptors.  This implies that, with excess endogenous estrogens (a typical situation in the transitional phase in which estrogens dominate over progesterone), isoflavones carry out an anti-estrogenic activity, i.e. they bind receptors, exerting a weaker hormone-like action compared to endogenous estrogens, therefore lowering the general effect. Instead, in the presence of lower hormonal levels (a typical postmenopausal condition), isoflavones exert a weak pro-estrogenic activity, since they occupy receptor sites that would otherwise remain inactivated. This action not only influences the reproductive organ but all organs and tissues (bones, nervous system, skin, mucosae, cardiovascular system, etc.): in fact, isoflavones positively influence all menopausal symptoms.

Vitex agnus-castus (also called chaste tree): its berries have a rebalancing effect on the progestogen hormonal component. Their use for menopausal symptoms is explained by their action at the level of the hypophysis where, acting on gondadotropins (FSH and LH), they promote the production of progesterone and contribute to alleviating typical transitional phase symptoms. Moreover, it has recently been discovered that intake of chaste tree stimulates the production of melatonin by the brain, improving depressive symptoms as well as the quality and quantity of nightly rest.

Dioscorea villosa: of Mexican origin, it has been used since Aztec times to treat many female disturbances, from the premenstrual syndrome to menopausal symptoms. Among its active ingredients there is diosgenin, a substance with a structure similar to that of progesterone. Evidence of the drug’s use (dry root extract) shows hormone-like effects towards the progestogen component. Its mechanism of action is not yet known, however: it can act as a phyto-progestin, interacting with progesterone receptors; it can rebalance the hypophysial secretion of FSH and LH or stimulate the hormonal production of the adrenal gland.

The most convenient form of intake of these ingredients comes in swallowable tablets.

  1. To compensate for a widespread nutritional shortage in the Western world (namely, the lack of magnesium), and effectively contrast oxidative stress, responsible for aggravating menopausal disorders…

Nature can help you with…

Magnesium: the widespread deficiency of this mineral, mainly due to soil depletion and refined foods, bears implications for many health-related aspects, ranging from the psychic and neuro-muscular spheres, to the cardiovascular, osteoarticular and gynaecological domains. Due to hormonal trends which are typical of fertile life (menstrual cycle, pregnancies, breast-feeding, menopause), women are affected by a lack of magnesium with a frequency that is four times higher compared to men.

In the general, current worsening of menopausal symptoms related to the neurovegetative sphere and mood levels, magnesium plays a vital role, such as in the rise of degenerative, chronic pathologies such as osteoporosis, insulin resistance, hypertension and vascular damage. Whenever there is a lack of magnesium, the action of calcium at the level of muscles and nerve endings tends to prevail. Anxiety, irritability, stress, insomnia, headache, muscle tension and cramps are a direct consequence. Effects at cardiovascular level are even more dramatic (arrhythmias, fibrillation, heart attack, hypertension).

Another consequence ensuing from the lack of magnesium regards bone structure: magnesium is vital to “keep us on our feet an entire lifetime”, in other words, it “saves our bones”. To contrast vasomotor and neurovegetative symptoms, to safeguard the cardiovascular apparatus and protect the bone structure, an intake of at least 400 – 500 mg of magnesium a day is recommended during menopause, to be taken as salts with high bioavailability, of which magnesium citrate represents the best.

Alpha lipoic acid: this is naturally produced at hepatic level (synthesis, however, decreases with age) and carries out a fundamental role in cellular metabolism of energy; it also protects from the attack of free radicals and reactive oxygen species that damage and wear out organs and tissues. It is active in every body district since it is solubile in both  aqueous and lipid cellular fractions.

Its extraordinary nature lies in the fact that, while fulfilling an antioxidant function, it passes from a reduced to an oxidized form. Meanwhile, the alpha lipoic acid regenerates C and E vitamins, according to an “antioxidant recycling” process. It is capable of chelating dangerous metals, helping the organism to eliminate them. For these reasons it is considered “king of antioxidants” and is particularly useful for the general protection of the female organism, especially during menopause.

Intake via practical sachets to be dissolved in water is recommended.

  1. To calm down anxiety in a natural way, supporting women from a psychological point of view…

Nature can help you with…

Klamath Algae: these algae grow spontaneously in the homonymous lake situated in Oregon, in the North of the United States, far from any kind of environmental pollution. They are blue green algae featuring an extraordinary set of constituents: over 30 minerals and oligoelements, 12 vitamins, among which vitamins C and E in high quantities as well as the complete series of group B vitamins, essential for healthy nerve cells.

Klamath Algae moreover contain between 60 and 65% of easily absorbable noble proteins, consisting in all 20 aminoacids, as well as  high quantities of free aminoacids (acting as precursors for the formation of cerebral peptides called neuropeptides). Rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 as well as in antioxidants, particularly beta-carotene, that complete its beneficial action. Recent studies have furthermore highlighted the presence of a compound naturally produced by the brain, called phenylethylamine, with stimulating and antidepressant properties. All this makes Klamath algae a really extraordinary nutrient: beneficial effects range from increased levels of energy, physical and mental vitality, reduction of stress, nervousness, anxiety and irritability.

Griffonia simplicifolia: the seeds are rich in a particular aminoacid called 5-hydroxytryptophan (5 – HTP), a direct precursor to serotonin. Numerous studies have highlighted that Griffonia Simplicifolia extracts stimulate the production of serotonin by the nervous system, leading to a general lowering of the threshold of excitability and improving mood tone.

Passiflora incarnata (Purple passionflower): traditionally used for the treatment of neuralgias, tachycardia caused by anxiety, asthma and insomnia. In modern phytotherapy, therapies indicate its use to calm down anxiety and solve problems such as insomnia as well as gastrointestinal disorders of psychosomatic origin. Among its active chemical constituents are mainly flavonoids (vitexin, isovitexin, etc.), maltol and alkaloids. It’s not clear which constituent is actually responsible for the effects shown by Passiflora; most probably these are the result of a synergic action between the different substances contained in the phytocomplex.

A recently published study was carried out with the aim of finding a relationship between the anxyiolitic activity of Passiflora with that of largely employed benzodiazepine (lorazepam). After 15 days of intake, both groups treated (one with lorazepam, the other with passiflora incarnata extracts) showed positive results as regards reduced levels of anxiety. However, subjects treated with benzodiazepine treatment showed a reduced work performance capacity, a side-effect lacking from the other group. Passiflora incarnata extract is therefore safe to use in the treatment of conditions of anxiety and nervousness, also for daily treatment, without the risk of creating addiction.

Bitter orange: bitter orange flowers are rich in aromatic substances, mainly hesperidin and limonin, featuring antispasmodic, relaxing and calming properties. They are particularly indicated for conditions of nervous excitability characterizing hormonal unbalance and transformational phases in general, often associated to doubts and fears.

 The best form of intake for these ingredients is undoubtedly swallowable tablets.

Given the variability of symptoms (both in terms of timing and of intensity) signalling the onset of menopause, the above described ingredients should be taken according to personalized requirements, and in any case for periods lasting 3 – 6 months at least.