The Role of Adrenals in Perimenopause
Healthy adrenal function is critical for a smooth menopausal transition. When a woman goes thru menopause, she doesn’t stop making hormones. As her ovaries are retiring, her adrenals are called upon to compensate for the shift. If a woman has pre-existing adrenal imbalances before she goes into menopause, she may suffer from an inability to produce sex hormones from her adrenals.
Many women state that “everything was fine until I went thru menopause.” The truth is that her cycling levels of estrogen were masking over imbalances. Estrogen is very anti-inflammatory, and if there is an inflammatory condition going on, sometimes it is the decrease in estrogen that causes the symptoms of the condition to surface. In other words, if the adrenals have been compromised, they fail to produce the necessary sex hormones needed to compensate for the transition, and the woman will suffer from low levels of hormones.
Nutritional Strategies to Support a Normal Stress Response:
1. Adaptogenic Herbs – Adaptogens are plant compounds that are useful during both adrenal hyper-stress as well as adrenal hypo-fatigue. By definition, an adaptogen implies the capability for bi-directional or normalizing effects. The most important adaptogens for the adrenals include Panax Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Rhodiolia, and Holybasil Leaf Extract.
2. Licorice (Glycyrrhiza Glabara) – The active ingredients in licorice have been shown to have cortisol sparring properties and estrogen modulating properties. Glycyrrhizin has properties that are very helpful in restoring health to those that have adrenal exhaustion. The compound has the ability to increase the half-life of circulating cortisol. The end result is greater levels of circulating cortisol while taking the requirements off the adrenal glands for its production.