If you’re going through menopause, you may be familiar with hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a method of resolving menopause-related symptoms, such as hot flashes, weight gain and even an increased risk of osteoporosis. But while HRT may be the approach that garners the most media attention, correcting imbalances in the body’s amino acids can achieve similar results in some people and may be a more suitable, and certainly a safer alternative to HRT. Lets take a look at the facts and compare.
Before the link between HRT use and breast cancer risk was established, many postmenopausal women took HRT for many years to ease menopausal symptoms and to reduce bone loss. Since 2002, when research linked HRT and risk, the number of women taking HRT has dropped dramatically. Still, many women continue to use HRT to handle bothersome menopausal symptoms. The effectiveness of HRT is not in dispute but safety is a concern.
Estrogen-only HRT increases the risk of breast cancer, but only when used for more than 10 years, Estrogen-only HRT also can increase the risk of ovarian cancer. The higher breast cancer risk from using HRT is the same for so-called "bioidentical" and "natural" hormones as it is for synthetic hormones. "Bioidentical" means the hormones in the product are identical to the hormones your body produces. Bioidentical hormones are said to be "natural" -- derived from plants. Synthetic hormones are made in a lab and are also chemically identical to the hormones in your body.
Amino acids are often referred to as the “building blocks of life.” That’s because they play a vital role in many of the body’s functions, including digestion, anti-aging, cellular repair, hormonal regulation and a host of other important functions. They also provide a source of energy for your body, but until now very few of us have heard much about them.
While it’s always important to eat a balanced diet to get as many essential amino acids as possible, there are three specific types of amino acids that have been linked with improving menopause symptoms, and these can only be obtained at the high levels needed through supplementation.
Arginine: During menopause, many women may experience a condition known as endothelial dysfunction, a blood vessel disorder that compromises vessels’ ability to circulate blood efficiently and which has been associated with hot flashes. In endothelial dysfunction, the vessels fail to produce enough nitric oxide, a chemical that helps vessels relax. Clinical trials show that when consumed at the right quantities, arginine is transformed into nitric oxide so it can help resolve the symptoms of endothelial dysfunction, including hot flushes.
Lysine is known as an essential amino acid, which means the body does not produce it on its own. Instead, we have to get what we need from the foods we eat or from supplements. During menopause, lysine helps prevent arginine from being absorbed directly by cells, ensuring it remains in circulation where it can help blood vessels operate more efficiently. Lysine is important for the production of hormones and enzymes that play vital roles in menopause, and it also helps promote strong bones by promoting calcium absorption.
Carnitine: Although not an amino acid, carnitine is a compound that’s produced by the amino acids lysine and methionine. Carnitine has been shown to help with weight loss, when combined with a sensible diet and increased activity, making it a useful tool for counteracting the extra pounds that often accompany menopause.
So not only do you need these 3 critical amino acids, but you need them in the correct ratio. But the story doesn’t end there. Recent advances in Menopause research has uncovered 2 more essential elements that have been proven for menopause relief and have long been overlooked. These are Iodine and Magnesium.
Iodine is the wonder element of the new millennium, being hailed as a cure for over 150 conditions from thyroid to bone and brain development. And Magnesium has long been praised for relief of muscle cramping and migraine, but there is also a clear link between the menopause phase of life and low levels of Magnesium in the body.
Menopause is not a disease, it’s a natural part of a woman’s evolution, but so many pharmaceutical companies treat you like you have some kind of terminal disease. But let’s face it... the symptoms are real, but science is now showing us that they can be alleviated in a perfectly natural way if we can just get the body back in balance. That’s where the right supplements come into play, so long as they are blended with the correct ratio of amino acids (Lysine & Arginine in a 2:1 ratio), together with the essential elements of magnesium and iodine. B group vitamins are also an added advantage and some formulations do contain them.
Complimentary Healthcare Group
CHG provides media articles backed by clinical data and research on complimentary options for healthcare. Supported by a unique group of Doctors around the world, CHG provides a snapshot on alternative health and the growing clinical evidence to support the uses of alternative medicines.
Dr. Richard Teague