The changing seasons

Although September is often regarded as the first month of Autumn, can still have those long, bright, sunny, and warm days to remind us of the summer just gone (excluding the last washout of course).

It sought of fools us into thinking that the light and warmth will just carry on!

But for some of us, this change in season and especially the now gradual decline in natural light can be a challenge, affecting our mood, motivation, and even our appetite. We have all probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or “winter depression”.

While its cause is not fully understood, it is often associated with a reduction in serotonin, melatonin, or alterations in our circadian rhythm/body clock because of reduced sunlight and its ensuing impact on the hippocampus of our brain.

Let’s not forget that serotonin and melatonin are in fact hormones and neurotransmitters, it seems that when we think about the peri menopause or menopause our only focus is oestrogen, progesterone, or testosterone.

We are in fact, far more subtly complex living organisms awash with a plethora of hormones and neurotransmitters which we never really consider but they all play their important parts in the chemical orchestra that is our wonderful and ever-changing body.

let’s consider Seratonin:

Serotonin is best known for its effects on our mood causing depression. It affects our digestive system and immune system.  It is made from the amino acid Tryptophan, and it is mostly found in the gut, not our brain.

Interestingly when we review below the list of symptoms associated with low serotonin it’s difficult not to draw comparisons with menopausal symptoms.

  • Decreased energy levels
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Mood swings, negative feelings, including a reduction in joy, satisfaction and even empathy
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Poor quality sleep
  • Carb cravings
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms affect the release of digestive enzymes and constipation.
  • Sexual dysfunction

So as autumn starts to descend it may be worth paying particular attention to your menopausal mood and energy levels, Serotonin may be playing its part.

What can you do about it?

  • A 20 minute on even a gloomy day will help to boost your levels of Serotonin.
  • Socialise with loved ones, or cuddle a pet.
  • Remember that food is medicine. Foods that are high in Tryptophan include:
    • Eggs
    • Green leafy vegetables.
    • Soy
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Salmon
    • Cheese