Diet Change And Depression

Depression and anxiety are incredibly common symptoms that we see in primary care. It is estimated that 75-90% of visits to doctors are related to problems caused or made worse by stress. I was so excited to see a new study published showing a link between diet change and depression symptoms!

We all have to eat. Most people recognize that our diet has a huge impact on our health. Heart attacks, strokes, cancers, obesity and many other illnesses are impacted by what we eat. Doctors spend a lot of time advising people to eat less sugar, less saturated fat, and more fresh fruits and vegetables.

Many people don’t realize what you eat affects your mood, too! I’ve had great success with nutritional supplements in helping people with depression and anxiety feel better. A new research study has shown a very clear association between diet change and depression as well.

Researchers in Australia studied 76 young adults with depression and anxiety symptoms. They were randomly assigned to two groups – one group got no intervention, and one group got instructions to improve their diet via a 13-minute video they could re-watch whenever they wanted to.

They were instructed to increase their intake of

  • vegetables to 5 servings per day
  • fruits to 2-3 servings per day
  • whole grains to 3 servings per day
  • lean protein (lean meat, poultry, eggs, tofu, legumes) to 3 servings per day (Remember, plant sources are healthier than animal)
  • unsweetened dairy to 3 servings per day
  • fish to 3 servings per week
  • nuts and seeds to 3 tablespoons per day
  • olive oil to 2 tablespoons per day

They were also instructed to take 1 teaspoon of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon most days. They were to DECREASE their intake of refined carbohydrates, sugar, fatty or processed meats and soft drinks. They were given sample menus and handouts answering common questions as well.

After 3 weeks the average depression questionnaire scores had not changed in the control group, not surprisingly. However, in the diet-change group the scores had returned to normal! And the improvement was maintained when they were rechecked after 3 months.

This study supports what I’ve said for a long time. Depression and anxiety are not just related to stress or genetics. Our nutrition strongly impacts our brains’ ability to manage and cope with stress. A crappy diet predisposes us to depression and anxiety, and we can improve our mood by improving our diet.

If you struggle with stress, depression and/or anxiety, improving your diet is something you can do TODAY. Improving your diet is as effective as medication, and works just as quickly. It also has no side effects! What are you waiting for?!

QUESTION: Do you see a link between how you eat and how you feel?


Healthy Skin Care

Believe it or not, summer is coming. Eventually.

Today I found myself dreaming about slathering on sunscreen and heading out to ride roller coasters at my favorite amusement park. I put sunscreen on my face every morning all year around. It occurred to me how many people don’t know how to tell the difference between dangerous and healthy skin care products.

This week I wanted to round up a list of the most dangerous skin care ingredients so you can check your products and make sure your skin is safe. Your skin is your largest organ and it’s the first thing people see so you should take good care of it and keep it healthy!


Parabens are chemicals that are used as preservatives in skin care products. They mimic estrogen and disrupt endocrine signaling. Researchers have found parabens in breast tissue and have shown that they increase breast cancer cell growth. Parabens can even block the activity of tamoxifen, a drug that inhibits the growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells.

Parabens in breast tissue are intact, meaning they did not go through the liver. These parabens were not in food, but instead were absorbed directly across the skin. Parabens are used in a lot of very expensive skin care products, but it is becoming better understood that these preservatives are not safe. Check your skin care product ingredient labels to make sure parabens are nowhere to be found!

Artificial Colors

If there is something in your skin care that has a color followed by a number, it doesn’t belong in or on your body. These coloring agents are derived from petroleum. In general products derived from petroleum are considered human carcinogens and artificial colors are associated with ADHD in children. The EU has banned them. They shouldn’t be in your skin care products.


What does THIS mean? No one knows, actually. The word “fragrance” on a skin care label is deliberately vague and may include a number of dangerous ingredients like phthalates, solvents and other toxic chemicals.

Fragrances are associated with skin problems like rashes and eczema and they can trigger allergies and asthma attacks in sensitive people. It’s safest to use products that don’t have added fragrance.


These chemicals are used to soften plastics and are also found in lotions, creams, perfumes, nail polish and hair spray. They are often part of the “fragrance” in scented products (see above). Like parabens they mimic hormones and can affect cancer risk and fertility in both men and women.

Bottom Line

There are a number of dangerous chemicals that have no place in our diet, our water supply and our health and beauty products. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Since I’m focusing today on healthy skin care today I wanted to briefly touch on some of the most prevalent.

Please go grab your skin care products and check the ingredient lists. If you find parabens, phthalates, “fragrance” or artificial coloring agents please consider switching to skin care products which don’t use these ingredients.

Want to know what skin care I use? Bet you can guess ūüėČ Click here to see the products I trust for myself and my family, and click here to see the list of 2500 harmful ingredients NEVER present in the products I use.


Menopause Symptoms And Quality of Life

Women who have reached menopause often feel as though they’ve traded one problem for another.  Sure, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of menstrual periods and worry about pregnancy anymore.  The hot flushes, night sweats, sleep problems, mood swings and vaginal dryness are not much improvement though.

Ask women who have menopause symptoms what their least favorite part is.  They will say the hot flushes and sweats at random times of the day and night.  They will tell you about the poor sleep and emotional roller-coaster.  They often WON’T tell you they have vaginal dryness and intolerable itching and loss of urinary control.  They usually won’t tell you they can’t tolerate intercourse with their partner anymore.

A lot of times they don’t tell ME that either.  I ask every woman at her physical about these symptoms if she is heading into menopause.  Women are embarrassed to discuss those parts of their bodies, even with their doctor.

There was a research study published recently in Menopause that asked women with menopause symptoms specifically about vaginal, vulvar and urinary symptoms.  Women who had had no menstrual period for at least a year were asked to fill out a questionnaire, and then had a gynecological exam.

Over 90% of the women were found to have vulvovaginal atrophy.  After the ovaries stop making estrogen at menopause, the skin and other tissues around the vagina and urethra become thinner, dryer and more fragile.  This is called atrophy and is often responsible for the itching, irritation and pain with sex that many women experience.

Many women know about hormone replacement therapy for menopausal symptoms and often refuse to take it.  Not as many women know that there are safer alternatives for vulvovaginal atrophy.  I usually recommend women try over-the-counter DHEA cream which they can get at the health food store or online.  One of my patients told me she tried Julva cream which she bought online and it helped a lot.  (Not an affiliate and I have no personal experience with it, just passing along a report from a happy patient.)

Topical estrogen cream is also very effective and is safe to use even in women who have had estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.  This is a prescription and usually requires an exam to make sure the diagnosis is right.  Many things other than vulvovaginal atrophy cause itching in pain (including infections and some skin conditions).

If you or a woman you love is suffering with itching, pain and/or urinary symptoms after menopause please don’t suffer in silence.¬† See the doctor and discuss your symptoms so you can get treatment.¬† Treatment works!

QUESTION:  Have you had problems with menopausal vaginal symptoms?  How has it affected your life?


Weight Loss Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Are you tired of me talking about weight loss yet?  LOL!  I just came across yet another reason for women to lose and maintain their weight after menopause.  Weight loss reduces breast cancer risk!

There was an study recently published in Cancer that looked at breast cancer risk in women who gained weight, maintained their weight and lost weight after menopause.  The authors found that weight loss of at least 5% body weight after menopause did significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer over the 11 year follow up period.

In this study, women lost an average of 19 pounds.¬† While not a small amount of weight, it isn’t a crazy amount either.¬† They were able to maintain their weight loss for the most part too.

We know that breast cancer risk is higher in women who are overweight and obese.  Since over 1/3 of women in the United States are obese, this is a significant risk factor for breast cancer in this country.  According to NHANES survey data from 2013-2014, 40.4% of women in the US are obese.

Let’s do some math.¬† Approximately how many American women are obese?¬† In 2010 (according to census data) there were just under 157 million female Americans.¬† 53.2 million were over 50, and 40.4% are obese.¬† That’s 21.5 million obese female Americans over age 50.¬† (Since we’re talking about breast cancer I want to focus on the population most at risk, and the study focused on women after menopause.)

In the study just published in Cancer, they found that 5.09% of women who maintained their weight got breast cancer, and 4.27% of the women who lost at least 5% of their body weight got breast cancer.¬† That’s an absolute risk reduction (ARR) of 0.82%.¬† This translates to a Number Needed to Treat (NNT) of 122.¬† (Remember that NNT = 1 / ARR)¬† This also assumes that the breast cancer risk reduction was caused by the weight loss.

If 122 obese women have to lose at least 5% of their body weight (and maintain that loss) to prevent one case of breast cancer…

That is over 176,000 women that could be spared breast cancer over approximately a 10-year time frame.¬† With about 266,000 women diagnosed every year with breast cancer, that’s a 7% reduction.

Will you be one of the women who suffers a potentially preventable case of breast cancer?  Now that you know weight loss reduces breast cancer risk, will you make sure to lose weight and get closer to your ideal body weight?  Your heart, your liver, your brain, your pancreas, your joints, your back, and even your breasts will thank you!

QUESTION: Do the numbers in this article surprise you?


Surgery Type Matters In Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer screening is a routine part of women’s health care.¬† I do Pap tests and HPV screens every week to check for this problem.¬† Luckily I rarely make a cancer diagnosis (although abnormal Pap tests are fairly common).

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers in women worldwide, with over half a million cases diagnosed per year.  About 13,000 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in the US in 2018.  Approximately 4000 American women will die of cervical cancer this year, according to the American Cancer Society.  Women are most commonly diagnosed in their 30s and 40s, but it can happen in women over age 65 as well.

It’s important to realize that this disease is more common in black and Hispanic women, but much less likely to occur in women who get regular screening.¬† Cervical cancer is preventable with vaccination, regular screening and treatment of abnormal cells found on Pap tests.

Once a diagnosis of cervical cancer is made, surgery is the most effective treatment.¬† Hysterectomy and removal of lymph nodes in the pelvis is necessary.¬† What hasn’t been understood until recently is whether the TYPE of hysterectomy mattered.

In this country, most surgery that CAN be done in a minimally invasive way IS done in that fashion.  Laparoscopic and robot-assisted surgeries are associated with less pain, shorter recovery, less blood loss and less risk of infection.  However, recently it has been found that these minimally invasive surgical techniques are actually associated with a HIGHER death rate from cervical cancer.

Two articles (1, 2) published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week showed that open abdominal hysterectomy was much better as far as survival goes than laparoscopic or robot-assisted hysterectomy for cervical cancer.  The number needed to harm in one study was 19 which is really low.  This means for every 19 patients who were treated with a minimally invasive rather than open procedure, one went on to die of cervical cancer who would have survived with the open procedure. In the other study the number needed to harm was 26.

I have two take-home points from this frankly shocking finding.¬† First, if you know anyone with cervical cancer make sure they know a “keyhole surgery” approach is not as safe as an open procedure.¬† We can’t assume that an operation that’s right for one condition (like gallbladder removal and appendectomy) is the best for all problems.

The second point is that there needs to be more research done on minimally invasive surgery in cancer patients.  There must be some reason for the difference.  Neither of these studies really addressed WHY there is such a difference between open and minimally invasive operations for cervical cancer.  There are any number of possibilities.  Minimally invasive surgery is as safe for uterine cancer as an open procedure, for instance.

Could it be because cervical cancer is caused by a viral infection?¬† Or because affected¬† lymph nodes in cervical cancer are smaller or more subtle or harder to see through the laparoscope?¬† I really don’t know, and clearly no one else does either.

But with less pain, shorter recovery time, less bleeding and less risk of infection, minimally-invasive surgery is best IF scientists can figure out how to make it safer for cervical cancer patients.  That would be the best result of all.

QUESTION: Do you know anyone who has or had cervical cancer?  What was their experience like?


Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

October is breast cancer awareness month!  My mother, aunt and grandmother all had breast cancer, so reducing MY breast cancer risk is of pretty high interest to me.

Lots of women don’t think about their breast cancer risk except when they get their yearly mammogram.¬† Early detection makes treatment easier and more successful, so it’s definitely important, but¬†getting your mammogram will not reduce your risk of getting breast cancer.

So what WILL reduce a woman’s breast cancer risk?


Even 30 minutes of walking will reduce your risk.¬† In fact, 30 minutes of brisk walking 4 days per week reduced breast cancer risk by 30-50%.¬† That’s a huge reduction from just a little effort!

Maintain your weight

Obesity significantly increases a woman’s risk of all cancers including breast cancer.¬† There is an enzyme called aromatase that is present in fat cells.¬† It changes male hormones into female hormones.¬† Even after menopause women’s adrenal glands still make male hormones.¬† The more fat cells you have, the more aromatase and the more estrogens.

Breast cancer cells are often responsive to estrogens, and so obesity increases the stimulation and growth of these estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells.  Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight decreases breast cancer risk.


Increasing alcohol intake raises the risk of breast cancer.¬† Even 3-4 glasses of wine per week has been shown to raise the risk.¬† The more you drink the higher the risk, but there is no evidence of a “safe” level of alcohol intake.

The most important risk factors for breast cancer are, of course, age and gender.¬† Women get breast cancer 100 times more often than men, and the risk goes up as we get older.¬† There are inherited genetic risk factors as well, and there are links to how early menstrual periods started, how many children you’ve had and how late menopause occurred.¬† Breastfeeding also decreases the risk.¬† Some of these, like age, are things we can’t control.

But there ARE risks that we can control!¬† Don’t smoke or drink, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight and you will be doing a lot to control your breast cancer risk.


Update From Shaklee Live

I have been spending the last 3 days at Shaklee Live surrounded by amazing people committed to improving the lives and health of everyone around them.  Shaklee has really outdone themselves with the new products and tools to help create a healthier life for everyone and a better life for everyone!

There are 3 major updates that I wanted to share with you today.  The first is a way for anyone to get a personalized nutrition plan to address your health goals.  The second is an exciting update to one of Shaklee’s workhorse products to address issues vital to EVERY woman of childbearing age.  And the third is a new program to jumpstart weight loss and improve mental focus, energy and sleep.

  1. HealthPrint

I recently developed a questionnaire to help me get a better handle on what my customers’ goals and health needs are.  Shaklee swiped my idea, LOL!

In fairness, they had the idea first.  They’ve been working for months to create a web-based questionnaire to really drill down into your current health status and your goals to give you a personalized nutrition plan.

Want to see?¬† There‚Äôs no cost, no commitment and no reason not to check it out!¬† It takes about 5 minutes.¬† Click this link to start.¬† Current members of the Shaklee Family will log in to the website. ¬†Here’s a video about it!

  1. New prenatal labeling for Vitalizer Women and Vita Lea with Iron

So many young women trying to start a family rely on Shaklee supplementation, but often they are told by their obstetrician that they need to switch to a prescription prenatal vitamin when they are pregnant and breastfeeding.  Not anymore!!

Shaklee has increased the amount of folic acid and iodine in Vita Lea with Iron (and Vitalizer Women, which includes Vita Lea with Iron).  This brings the nutritional support of these products up to prenatal standards!  They are very well tolerated even by women in the first trimester, who don’t tolerate ANYTHING.

Since the most critical time to provide strong nutritional support to a developing baby is actually BEFORE a woman even knows she is pregnant, this is a HUGE advance in protecting the health of growing families.  If you are a woman of childbearing age (or know and love a woman of childbearing age) please take a look at these products!  Click here to read more or watch this video!

(Can you tell I just figured out how to embed videos in my blog?  Skill acquired, Blogger Level Up Achieved!!  LOL!)

  1. Healthy Cleanse

Last year Shaklee had started working on a healthy cleanse for detox purposes.  We live in a toxic world, where the liver is constantly bombarded with food additives and other toxic stuff in our diet, drinking water and skin care products.

Many people turn to harsh laxatives, juicing and other questionable practices to try to detox their bodies.  Often this leads to diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue and overwhelming hunger.

Shaklee has released the Healthy Cleanse, a 7-day program of healthy eating and nutritional support to jumpstart weight loss, improve energy and sleep, and create better mental focus.  It should decrease cravings for unhealthy foods like sugar and salt.

If you‚Äôre ready to get serious about weight loss, this is a great way to start. ¬†It’s a nice precursor to the Turnaround Kit and can be used with Vitalizer or the Vitalizing Plan. ¬†I‚Äôve created a Facebook group¬†of people who want to do the Healthy Cleanse together, and will set a start date for the Cleanse soon.¬† Support makes everything easier!

Want more info? ¬†Here’s the How-to Guide, the FAQ, and the the Order Form.

August is always an exciting time in Shaklee, the energy from our annual conference is contagious and all the new tools and new and upgraded products create such a buzz. ¬†But ultimately what gives us all a charge is helping people live healthier lives. ¬†Living longer, living healthier and living better is what it’s all about.

QUESTION:  I threw a ton of info at you.  What do you need to know?  Ask away!


Vitamin K Deficiency In Newborns

This year in Tennessee and other places around the country, doctors are seeing seriously ill infants with hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.  This is a life-threatening bleeding disorder that is caused by vitamin K deficiency in newborns.

All these cases occurred in infants whose parents refused to allow their babies to receive a vitamin K injection immediately after birth.

I am shocked that in this day and age babies are being exposed to the risk of a potentially fatal disease that is 100% preventable.  Since 1961 doctors and hospitals have been giving a single injection of vitamin K when babies are born.  This completely eliminated cases of hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.

Granted, this disease is rare even in babies who do not receive the injection.  Estimates are 2.5-17 cases per 1000 births.  However, if it is YOUR baby suffering lifelong disability due to a problem that is completely preventable I think even this small risk is too big.

Why do babies get vitamin¬†K deficiency?¬† Although vitamin K (which is a fat soluble vitamin) does pass through the placenta, newborns don’t have very significant body stores of vitamin K.¬† After birth, the supply of vitamin K coming from Mom stops abruptly, and there is not enough in breastmilk or formula to meet their needs.

Human beings get vitamin K from their diet (in leafy green veggies like kale and spinach, as well as Brussels sprouts and tomatoes) and from beneficial bacteria in the intestine.  Newborn babies have NO bacteria in their intestine Рand it takes some time for the bacteria to build up.  They rapidly can become severely vitamin K deficient.

Anybody out there know someone who takes Coumadin (warfarin), a blood thinner used to treat heart problems or blood clots?¬† Coumadin acts by blocking the activity of vitamin K to help make clotting factors in the bloodstream.¬† When babies get deficient in vitamin K, it’s like they’re taking Coumadin and getting blood that is thinner and thinner.

As a public service measure, neonatal vitamin K injection is a rousing success.  It completely eliminates hemorrhagic disease of the newborn.  I went to the Internet and looked up some of the objections natural-parenting advocates have to the injection.  After all, SOMETHING has to be responsible for the recent trend to refuse something as benign as a vitamin shot.  Here are some of the objections I found:

  • The dose is too high:¬† Granted, the dose is pretty high.¬† However, vitamin K is nontoxic and a one-time shot needs to be high in order to tide the baby over until the bacteria seed the intestine and begin making vitamin K.¬† Hemorrhagic disease in the newborn can be seen as late as 12 weeks of age.
  • Shots are painful:¬† Yes, needles hurt.¬† I give shots all the time.¬† They are not a fate worse than death, though, and those that think an injection soon after birth will cause irreparable lifelong psychic injury to their child are fooling themselves.
  • Oral vitamin K is just as good:¬† Actually, it’s not.¬† Hemorrhagic disease of the newborn is still seen in the Netherlands, where oral rather than injected vitamin K is the standard of care.

Vitamin K injections are safe.  They work.  They save babies from death and lifelong disability.  If you know someone who is expecting, please pass this article along and encourage them to discuss this issue with their obstetrician.  You may save your friend unimaginable heartbreak.


Religious Freedom And Birth Control

This week the Supreme Court decided that privately held companies have the same right to religious freedom as individuals.¬† This means that family businesses like Hobby Lobby and organizations like Little Sisters Of The Poor and the Roman Catholic Church can’t be forced to provide health insurance that covers services that violate their religious beliefs.

This debate has been very difficult for the country.  On the one hand, access to effective contraception and family-planning services is very important for public health.  Preventing unwanted pregnancy is a valuable goal.

On the other hand, the issue is really about who has to pay for these family-planning services.¬† The Roman Catholic Church has taught for centuries that artificial means of preventing pregnancy (like condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, permanent sterilization and abortion) are morally wrong.¬† Whether or not YOU believe this isn’t really the point.¬† The point is that the US Constitution protects that belief and the right to practice it.

First-Amendment-scroll-300x218The Obama Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have decided that all health insurance policies in the USA must cover oral contraceptive pills, the morning-after pill, IUDs, permanent sterilization, and all other FDA-approved contraceptive measures without cost to the patient.¬† It’s important to point out that this is NOT a law, it’s a regulation by HHS.¬† The Catholic Church and a large number of privately held companies run according to the owners’ Catholic faith objected to this.¬† Hobby Lobby’s suit was the first to reach the Supreme Court.

The press is running amok with this judgment, in my opinion.¬† They are making it out to be a “War On Women” which is complete nonsense.¬† Nowhere in any law, judgment or ruling does it state that women (or men) can’t get any family planning service or product that they and their doctor decide is appropriate.¬† Women are still free to get birth control pills, the morning-after pill, IUDs, vasectomies and tubal ligations.

If a patient’s health insurance doesn’t cover birth control or an IUD and they want them, they will have to pay for them.

I have a hard time seeing this as a tragedy.¬† Birth control pills are $4 per month for generics at your corner drugstore, out-of-pocket, without insurance.¬† At Planned Parenthood you can get generic birth control pills for $10 for a year’s supply (or at least you could when I was in college).¬† An IUD is more expensive up-front but averaged over the device’s five-year lifespan it can actually be LESS expensive than birth control pills.

Truly indigent women will qualify for Medicaid, which covers contraception at no out-of-pocket cost.¬† At issue, I think, are women who CAN afford to pay $4 per month for birth control pills but think it’s someone else’s job to provide it.

This is the old argument between entitlement and personal responsibility.¬† I have always come down on the side of personal responsibility.¬† If you want it, or need it, and your insurance company doesn’t pay for it, I guess you’re writing a check.

PS – I wonder how much money the Obama Administration has spent fighting Hobby Lobby’s and the over 90 other lawsuits over the contraceptive mandate?¬† If providing free contraception for everybody was the goal, I wonder how many packs of birth control pills that money would have purchased.¬† Just sayin’…


3 Ways To Rock Your Menopause


If you are or you know someone who is dealing with menopause, raise your hand.

I get asked a lot about menopause symptoms and I pretty much give the same answer:  There are three ways to handle it.  Enjoy it, ease it with nonhormonal remedies, or go for the big guns.

1.¬† First of all I want to remind you all that menopause is NOT a disease.¬† A woman’s ovaries are SUPPOSED to go on permanent vacation at about age 51.¬† Face it, they’ve worked nonstop for the last 35-40 years, producing hormones and eggs and we-don’t-even-know-what-else!¬† They deserve a little R&R.¬† Just because YOU’RE addicted to estrogen isn’t their fault!

Seriously folks, remembering that menopause is normal and natural and generally doesn’t cause problematic symptoms for the rest of a woman’s life often goes a long way toward making it more bearable.¬† Being afraid of it or worrying about it can make it worse.

I generally encourage women to look on the bright side and work to find the positive in any situation.  The obvious (and often-quoted) statement that getting older beats the alternative comes to mind.

Here are 3 reasons why it’s awesome to reach menopause:

  • No more periods!¬† Hooray!¬† All you¬†women who are approaching menopause and upset about not getting your period anymore, raise your hands.¬† **cricket, cricket**¬† Nope.¬† Didn’t think so.
  • No more birth control!¬† Double hooray!¬† Now sex comes without the scramble for condoms or two weeks of wondering if you might be pregnant.
  • You’re not exactly in the “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple” category but age does have some benefits.¬† By the time a woman reaches menopause she has generally gathered experiences to help her put things in perspective.¬† And it’s fun not to care so much what others think of us!

There are some behavioral approaches to managing menopause symptoms that can be very effective.  Avoiding hot-flash triggers like heat, caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, smoking and stress can help.  Keeping your bedroom cool can decrease the sleep trouble and night sweats.  Exercise decreases symptoms too, possibly by helping decrease stress.  Eating soy foods may be helpful.

2.  There are a number of nonhormonal therapies that can reduce the symptoms of menopause.  Many antidepressants like paroxetine decrease the hot flashes, insomnia and irritability that can come with menopause.

For some reason Shaklee’s multivitamin for women at and past menopause, Vita Lea Gold, reduces hot flashes more often than not.¬† I think it has something to do with the antioxidant in it, N-acetylcysteine.¬† It works often enough that I don’t think it’s coincidence but I don’t have any scientific evidence to back it up.¬† I’m firmly of the belief that everyone should take a multivitamin, so I think it’s a good approach.

There is also some evidence that black cohosh helps with hot flashes.  There are many brands out there but I recommend Menopause Balance Complex from Shaklee.  If anybody wonders why I work with, promote and personally use Shaklee products, please check here.

3.¬† If you are miserable and behavioral techniques and supplements aren’t helping, you should talk to your doctor about hormone replacement therapy (HRT).¬† There are various forms (creams, patches and pills) and the right one for you would depend on exactly what symptoms are most bothersome for you.¬† Be prepared though:¬† a good and careful doctor will want to put you on the lowest dose that makes your worst symptoms tolerable, then get you off¬†HRT as soon as possible.¬† This is because HRT increases the risk of blood clots, heart disease, stroke and breast cancer.¬† Only you and your doctor can decide if the risks of HRT are worth the benefit of reducing your menopause symptoms.

After all, you want to be able to enjoy this time of your life.¬† Grown kids and/or grandkids, hopefully a growing retirement portfolio and more financial freedom, and the opportunity to explore new interests shouldn’t have to take a backseat to poor sleep, irritability and embarrassing hot flashes.¬† I hope some of the suggestions here are helpful!

“It is not good to cross the bridge before you get to it.”¬† Judi Dench

“Being me right now is sort of amazing.”¬† Helen Mirren

Question:  What is the one thing about menopause that you LEAST expected to have to deal with?