Finally, we have some promising research into the why of (and hopefully soon, the remedy for) menopausal weight gain. And it doesn’t have to do with calories or lack of exercise or all the other causes postulated up until now. As nearly every menopausal woman knows, dieting and increasing exercise often do little to help with the meno pot. It’s deeply demoralizing and can make one want to just give up.
During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels drop but levels of FSH, follicle stimulating hormone, remain high. This mismatch has been associated not only with weight gain but bone loss as well. FSH is the hormone that helps the egg develop and ripen in your ovary just prior to ovulation. These levels drop just after ovulation and increase again prior to the next ovulation.
Just prior to and during menopause, FSH levels remain elevated. Hence the weight gain and weird fat distribution coupled with bone loss.
A new study published in Nature has examined the use of an antibody to block FSH in female mice thrown into menopause when their ovaries were removed. They were fed a high fat diet, yet lost weight, upped their metabolism, and gained bone mass. While this is exciting news, the next step will be to try the experiment in larger animals, then humans. We may be some years away from realizing any benefits from this research but at the very least, we can feel vindicated.
That said, our best bet right now is healthy eating and continuing to move! Weight training with light weights, stretching, and walking will keep us at our optimal fitness level. We can eat less meat, more healthy carbs like quinoa or brown rice, and healthy fats such as almonds, legumes, and avocados. Oh, and a little dark chocolate and wine, just sayin’!
Read more at Medical News Bulletin.