Collagen for Perimenopause
In the past, many have made the mistake of dismissing the menopause as something that isn't worth worrying about until you reach your 50s. Many make little effort to educate themselves on what to expect or to learn if there is anything they can do to prepare. As that time approaches, some women feel a sense of dread while others celebrate it as a transition into the next stage of life. Perimenopause is the period of time that leads up to the onset of the menopause. It is likely to affect around 50% of women at some point, and it comes with a number of potential symptoms:
• Fatigue and lethargy
• Difficulty sleeping
• Hot flushes
• Brain fog
• Mood swings
• Changes in skin, hair, bones and joints
The hormonal changes are so extreme that some experts dub the process as a 'second puberty'. With the potential for so many side effects, perimenopause and menopause can be a very difficult time for women and it needs to be talked about.
Thankfully, there is a growing movement among prominent figures in society like celebrities to shine a light on perimenopause. Women with a platform are starting to talk about the symptoms they are experiencing and working to generate a better understanding in society. With a growing number of perimenopausal and post-menopausal women speaking out, there is a general sense of empowerment through knowledge and understanding of the changes a woman's body goes through. This way, we can all become more aware of this transitional time and the things that can be done to support it, increasing the feeling of validation and preparation.
'Menopause' actually refers to just a single day: the 12 month anniversary of your final period. On average, this happens around the age of 51. But it usually comes after years of perimenopause symptoms, which can start in a woman's forties. Some women even begin to experience the hormonal shifts as early as their mid-thirties - often undetectable - which initiate the whole process in the long term. Only around 1% of women will experience menopause at or before the age of 41, but this life-changing transition can take anything up to a decade to reach completion.
The natural ageing process cannot be stopped, but there are things we can do to make the journey a little smoother. There are various supplements and dietary changes to explore for women experiencing perimenopause and the associated symptoms, and collagen is high on that list. In this article, we will give you some guidance on how collagen works to ease many of the health and cosmetic issues associated with this change.
Collagen and oestrogen
Changing hormone levels are the primary culprits of the symptoms experienced throughout the menopause journey. Oestrogen is well-known as a sex hormone which, alongside progesterone, plays a key role in sexual and reproductive health. But the roles it plays in a woman's body actually go far beyond that. It is fundamental to supporting the health of our bones, nourishing the blood vessels and maintaining healthy heart function. So when the production of oestrogen slows, the impact on various parts of the body should not be underestimated.
It probably won't come as a surprise to learn that collagen also plays a big part in those very same bodily systems. Ageing is the primary cause of collagen depletion, and the symptoms include poor joint repair, loss of firmness and elasticity in the skin, reduction in gut health, thinning of the hair and nails, a loss of bone density and more. Unfortunately, oestrogen levels are also closely associated with collagen production, so when the oestrogen drops the collagen synthesis goes with it.
How quickly does this happen?
Studies have found that as much as 30% of dermal collagen can be lost in the first 5 years after menopause. After that, the rate of reduction is around 2% per menopausal year.
During this period, it is important to avoid doing anything that further depletes your collagen levels or damages collagen fibres. This generally comes down to lifestyle choices, including:
• Too much stress
• Poor nutrition
• Not staying hydrated
Research into the benefits of collagen supplements for perimenopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal women has discovered a number of reasons to be hopeful:
1. It improves bone density
The reduction in bone density after the menopause is a cause for concern relating to the lack of collagen and oestrogen. It significantly increases the risk of osteoporosis in your advancing years. The fastest rate of bone loss occurs in the years following menopause. Part of this comes down to the importance= of collagen in bone health. The composition of bone is an incredible 90% collagen. It is mineral content that is responsible for bone stiffness, but the connective properties of collagen are what gives it strength and flexibility. Many are surprised to learn that the pain and stiffness they feel in their joints can be caused by low oestrogen.
The hormone protects against inflammation in the joints, so when it is depleted, joint inflammation can increase. An in-depth review of over 60 studies found that using collagen supplements promotes healthy collagen synthesis, tissue regeneration and improved bone density and joint suppleness. When looking ahead to the postmenopausal stage, many women found that daily collagen supplementation over time resulted in significant increases in bone density.
2. It enhances skin elasticity
The decrease in oestrogen associated with perimenopause can have a dramatic impact on your skin. Reduced collagen means inferior skin elasticity and strength. Add in the depleted hydration as a consequence of hormonal changes and you find that fine lines, sagging and wrinkles become more visible. However, a double-blind study in 2015 showed that supplementing with collagen (and other compounds) can lead to substantial improvements in elasticity, hydration and wrinkly depth in the skin of women aged 45-64. It is the Type I collagen content that is known to help stimulate natural collagen production. Our customers, many of whom are at different stages of the menopausal journey, rave about the benefits they experience in their skin, hair and nails after taking Kollo marine collagen supplements.
3. It may help manage your weight
One of the common complaints associated with menopause is weight gain. With no changes in diet or lifestyle, the weight starts creeping up all by itself. It is possible to address this by making some diet and lifestyle adjustments, but collagen supplements can also be a helpful tool. There have been promising results in animal studies that indicate collagen can lead to increased levels of satiety, which is a great way to help keep your weight down.
4. It improves heart health and circulation
Healthy arteries require suppleness to function their best, and collagen provides this. The risk of atherosclerosis - one of the leading causes of death in the human population - increases after the menopause. There is evidence that collagen supplements may play a role in preventing and even treating atherosclerosis, supporting good health in the circulatory system.
5. Gut health and hormone balancing
At the time of writing, the scientific research into supplementation for these areas is in its infancy. But there is still cause for hope in this area, as it has been hypothesised that collagen is important for both gut health and hormone balancing. Just as the hormones change, the gut microbiome fluctuates throughout the different stages of life. Collagen is a factor in healing and sealing the gut thanks to two important amino acids: glycine and glutamine.
Glycine has been shown to support the stomach lining, while glutamine is instrumental in reducing inflammation and promoting permeability in the intestines. Thus, both these amino acids could be helpful for the gut microbiome. Further to this, amino acids are fundamental in the balancing of our hormones. Glycine and another component of collagen, tyrosine, have been shown to promote healthy thyroid function and mood regulation. This is very exciting for health and wellbeing because women often experience a range of mental health concerns before, during and after the menopause.
There is lots of space for more studies relating to perimenopausal and menopausal women to unveil the true potential of collagen. But the knowledge we have so far is enough to indicate that it can support the transition into the next phase of life by supplying the body with fuel to combat some of the damaging consequences of the change.
Kollo is made to help people get ahead of the signs of ageing, and women make up a huge percentage of our customers. We get feedback from so many amazing women at different stages of perimenopause and menopause, and their words are consistently very positive about the impact our collagen drink has had on their lives.Don't take our word for it - visit our customer reviews section and read the words of our verified buyers yourself. It is our firm belief that collagen supplementation can be very beneficial for perimenopause and beyond in so many ways. We urge you to keep doing your research and consider Kollo to help you on this journey.