Living without HRT

by ANGELA BEST, Daily Mail

Now we're in our second half of life, we must approach everything differently.

We must throw away old habits and start afresh. In the 1900s, life expectancy for a woman was 48. Now the average is 82.

So the biggest question among us Pioneering Pausers is how do we stay healthy for the next 30 years?

First, you need to understand what is happening to your body during and after the menopause. Diagnosing your symptoms is about being aware of the changes taking place and realising they are normal (just sometimes annoying).

Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body. They give our cells instructions on how our organs grow, function and repair themselves. So when hormone levels are deficient, our bodies, including a large part of our brain, don't function properly.

The good news is that replacing these hormones will restore youthful function. And when I talk about replacing hormones, I don't mean Hormone Replacement Therapy.

We shouldn't want to stop a natural process. Instead, we want to make it as smooth a transition as possible.

As I explained yesterday, making key changes to your diet is the first step towards finding an effective alternative to HRT.

We need oestrogen to balance our hormones so we need to make foods that contain plant oestrogens (phyto-oestrogens) our primary food source. There are also supplements you can take which will help to get your body back in balance.

It's amazing to me how some doctors still sniff at supplements and say we get enough of these vitamins and minerals in our diets, but research has shown that supplements play a complex role in ensuring vitality and healthiness and can actually stave off the normal ravages of ageing.

All women, whether they are currently on an oestrogen-only HRT or a combined oestrogen and progesterone treatment, will find that a soya supplement and wild yam cream will help to address the basic symptoms.

Magnesium deficiency plays a major role in controlling fluid balance and cravings - even minor deficiencies provoke symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia and depression - so a magnesium supplement is a must. Chocolate is high in this mineral, so that could account for cravings.

A good multi-vitamin will help to combat the body chemicals called free radicals which contribute to ageing. Free-radicals are by-products and as the body converts sugar and oxygen to energy they cause intense cellular damage.

Here's my shopping list of supplements:

1. A multi-vitamin - to include beta carotene, Vitamin A, D, C, E, Vitamin K, Bioflavonoids and selenium.

2. A B-complex - this should contain niacin, B-6, B-12, Folic acid, Biotin, Pantothenic acid, choline, inositol.

3. Liquid minerals - to include zinc, chromium, magnesium, manganese, boron, calcium (no more than 300 milligrams), selenium and vanadyl sulphate.

4. Remember: Buy all vitamins in liquid or capsule form.

5. Buy minerals in liquid form.

6. Separate B-complex from regular vitamins and don't buy them all in one capsule

7. Make sure all supplements such as vitamin E are cold-pressed - that means the vitamins have not been destroyed by heat processing.

  • Extracted from Change For The Best by Angela Best (Warner Books, £7.99).

    For Angela's food alternatives to HRT, just follow the link below!

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