I remember too often waking up in the middle of the night with heart pounding anxiety. Or I’d be driving down the road and suddenly have to slam on my brakes, because I was having an anxiety attack.
Anxiety can you make you on edge all the time, irritable, and upset. Anxiety can make it hard to concentrate on work, your life and your relationships. It can affect everything!
One of the most common complaints during peri menopause-and menopause is ANXIETY
Many people have it without the hormonal ups and downs.
Some of the reasons for anxiety—
Hormones drop and progesterone is usually the first to start declining. Declining levels of progesterone is one of the biggest reasons woman complain of anxiety.
I remember even when I was in my mid-forties and still having periods, that 10 days or so before my period started, I’d start having anxiety. I know now it was probably due to the low amounts of progesterone I had.
Some of the other reasons that are less obvious however have to do with our gut and our diet.
Yes, really. The bacteria that reside in our gut are responsible for creating something like 90% of the serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin is an important brain chemical that is made in the gut but is sent up to the brain. Serotonin is responsible for making us feel calm and happy.
Symptoms of low serotonin include anxiety, depression, low energy,
Feeling tense and irritable, craving sweets, and reduced interest in sex. Does this sound familiar?
And as hormone levels begin to decline, serotonin levels also decline more quickly. Progesterone is usually the first hormone to begin declining, and as it declines, anxiety and insomnia are often the result.
Another thing that messes with essential brain chemicals like serotonin is inflammation. Much of this can come from our diet as well.
Inflammation can come from eating a diet high in processed foods, too much conventional dairy, processed vegetable oils, too much sugar and other food allergies/sensitivities like gluten.
And if you have a condition like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or gluten sensitivity, inflammation is definitely going to be there.
This will interfere with serotonin and other brain chemicals that come from the gut bacteria.
There is a definite link between gluten issues and anxiety and depression.
Other things that can affect anxiety are alcohol, too much sugar, not enough sleep, not enough exercise, estrogen dominance, caffeine and some medications. One other thing that can cause anxiety is a lack of certain vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, C vitamins and magnesium.
The important thing is to realize that all these things are connected in our bodies, so you have to address all these issues.
What can you do for anxiety? Avoid running to the Doctor for a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication if at all possible. Try these things first.
- Do a detox/food elimination diet. This is the first thing I do with all my clients and it’s amazing how well it works. Eliminate all dairy, gluten, corn, sugar, caffeine and alcohol for a week to 10 days. Then you can reintroduce these things one at a time and see how they affect you. You may be shocked.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes a LOT of fresh colorful vegetables, especially leafy green ones. Get healthy protein in the form of grass fed meats, wild caught fish, and pastured eggs.
- AVOID processed vegetable oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil and sunflower oil. Eat healthy fats including GRASSFED butter, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil. Your brain actually needs these healthy fats to work properly.
- Take supplements. My recommendation for everyone is a good multivitamin, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin D3, omega 3 fish oil, and magnesium. Magnesium is especailly helpful for anxiety, but avoid magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate.
- Other supplements that work for anxiety are—GABA which is a calming brain chemical, ashwaganda, which is an herbal supplement, valerian root and turmeric.
- L-theanine is another one that is often used for anxiety as well. However I want to caution you to be careful. L-theanine can cause a BOUNCEBACK reaction where your anxiety is actually WORSE after it wears off.
I noticed this myself when I took it for sleep, I would wake up and be anxious half the day—and it’s a real thing.
- If you’ve tried these things and still want some additional help, I suggest some over the counter PROGESTERONE cream. There are quite a few available and most health foods stores carry them or you can buy them online. One of my favorites is a brand called Emerita. These products contain natural progesterone and you can rub it on before bed or daily to help with anxiety and hot flashes. Many of us are estrogen dominant, so this helps to balance out estrogen as well.
- If you need more help, the last suggestion is to ask a DR to prescribe some NATURAL Progesterone to help with anxiety and sleep.
We will discuss more about natural vs synthetic hormones on the next video. Take care!
I’m Catherine Ebeling, RN, MSN-PHN. I’ve written 6 books on diet and health and have studied nutrition for the past 30 years. My program, Health and Hormone Fix will help you balance your hormones, and lose weight so that you feel younger, stronger and sexier!