The change of life – what happens now?
The change of life, also called the climacterium, is a special phase when many women experience a number of differences in their body. The physiological changes in the female body and metabolism can have an effect on the quality of sleep, for example, and also on the regulation of the body’s temperature and moods. Some women notice a gain in weight or a change in their hair and nails. However, every woman experiences these changes in a different way because the characteristics can vary greatly.
Phases and duration of the change of life
The menopause is the end of the last menstrual period after which a woman experiences 12 months without menstrual bleeding. This usually occurs at between 45 and 55 years of age. The one or two years preceding and following the menopause are the actual “change” and are called the perimenopause. The phase before this, when the levels of oestrogen and gestagen gradually become lower and menstrual bleeding becomes more erratic for the first time, is known as the premenopause. The menopause is followed by the postmenopause, in which the hormone levels slowly find a new balance. On average the change of life takes about 10 years.
Remain naturally female
A good appearance and general well-being are very important for many women during the change of life as well. The new hormonal situation can alter the skin, for example, but this is a process which can be slowed down. The same is true for the hair: as less oestrogen is produced, the hair tends to become thinner and it often feels dry and brittle. The fingernails can also change and become brittle. Certain nutrients are especially important for your body in this phase of life. Vitamin B6 contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity. Biotin, zinc and selenium contribute to the maintenance of normal skin. Selenium also contributes to the maintenance of normal nails. Vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc are important for the maintenance of normal bones.
A varied diet
Although many people keep an eye on their figure continually, during the change of life some women put on more weight than they would like. This gain in weight is associated with the new metabolic state and the basal metabolic rate which lowers as a result. The volume of energy-consuming muscles gradually decreases, lowering the energy consumption itself. A daily calorie intake of 2,000 to 2,300 kcal is a good reference value which should not be exceeded in everyday life if at all possible. High-quality foods and also foods with a minimum of processing are a delight to both the body and the taste buds: fruit, vegetables, fish, low-fat dairy products, wholemeal products and lean meat are the ideal basis of a balanced diet.
Important micronutrients for the change of life
A sufficient supply of micronutrients is extremely important during the change of life for good health and well-being, but also for a woman’s appearance. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals (incl. trace elements) play a particularly important role in this phase of life.
- Selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc contribute to the protection of the cells against oxidative stress.
- Vitamin B6 contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity.
- Biotin, selenium and zinc contribute to the maintenance of normal hair.
- Biotin and zinc contribute to the maintenance of normal skin.
- Selenium contributes to the maintenance of normal nails.
- Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of the skin and bones.
- Vitamin D and zinc contribute to the maintenance of normal bones.
Phytoestrogens – special phytonutrients
The most important sources of phytoestrogens include isoflavones, of which the largest amounts are found in soya, and lignans, which occur above all in linseeds. A soya-rich diet is common throughout Asia and it is interesting that women in Japan experience fewer menopausal symptoms.
Experience shows that a balanced mix of certain micronutrients can have a positive effect on the special needs of women during the change of life.